King County bars and restaurants struggle with first day of vaccine verification order

King County’s vaccine requirement to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments is now in effect. 

Most customers at the Harp Bar and Restaurant in Kent were happy to show proof of vaccination on Monday. 

"We’ve been asked for proof of vaccination at many other places and it doesn’t bother me whatsoever," said Sandra Jabczenski of Kent. "I carry it in my wallet. It’s no inconvenience. I’m glad to show it. I think I’m doing my part and I hope everyone else is feeling the same way."

King County restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment venues are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours. The new order went into effect on Monday.

"I went to the gym today. They were stopping people and they weren’t letting some people in there, asking for the vaccination cards. Luckily, I had it saved on my phone," said Steve Jabczenski of Tukwila. "For me, I’m fine with it. I kind of liked it, going into the gym with it, because in the gym you’re supposed to wear the masks up but a lot of people are walking around breathing heavy with a mask down. I’m sure that’s like germs everywhere."

RELATED: King County’s vaccine requirement begins Monday

Lorraine Torres, the owner of the Harp, said the first day of the new order wasn’t the smoothest experience.

"It’s slowed me down a little just trying to get into the routine trying to remember to check the cards. It’s going to be hard, especially on our really busy nights, it’s going to be a struggle. After today, I already turned nine people away. I can see that it’s going to affect business quite a bit," said Torres.

Torres said her business is still in recovery mode and short-staffed after staying open through the pandemic. Torres herself works 14 hours a day, six days a week.

"Just about 15 minutes ago, I had two people sit at the bar. I asked them for their card and they didn’t have it and they just looked really upset and just left with an attitude," said Torres. "I don’t want people to get sick here, and I don’t want to get sick, but it really is going to be hard for restaurants to get through this."

On its busiest nights, Harp can see up to 150 customers. Torres said she may need to hire a person to check vaccination cards at the door, but it will be an added expense during an already challenging time.

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