March 16, 2021

Niki Reading

Washington Restaurant and Hospitality Workers Petition Governor for Vaccines

Thousands of Washington Restaurant and Hospitality Workers and supporters sign the petition to ask the Governor: Please give us access to the vaccine along with other essential workers.

Restaurants in Washington State can open to 50 percent indoor dining capacity March 22 (which is great news!), but restaurant workers still don’t know when they’ll get access to the vaccine. Today, more than 3,500 restaurant and hospitality workers and their supporters are sending a petition to Gov. Jay Inslee to ask to be included in the next phase alongside other essential workers so they can get the vaccine this week. 

“If we want vaccine access to be equitable, we must include restaurant and hospitality workers alongside other essential workers. Forty percent of our team members across the state are people of color who have been reporting for work throughout a deadly pandemic,” said Trey Lamont, who owns Jerk Shack in Seattle and is a member of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance Board.

“Restaurant and hospitality workers have been absolutely essential throughout the pandemic, yet they cannot get access to the vaccine alongside other essential workers. We have been working for months to ensure our team members can have access to the vaccine, and now we’re asking for the public’s help,” said Anthony Anton, President and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “You can support your favorite restaurant by signing the petition, wearing your mask, practicing physical distancing, and dining indoor, outdoor, or ordering takeout."

The petition, organized by the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and Washington Hospitality Association, asks Gov. Jay Inslee to include food and hospitality workers with other essential workers, including those who work in grocery stores, food manufacturing, and processing. These groups will be eligible for the vaccine this week. 

Paul Osher with Porkchop and Co. in Ballard and Seattle Restaurant Alliance Board member said separating restaurant and hospitality workers out of the essential workers phase is inconsistent. “We’ve been classified as essential throughout the pandemic — except when it comes to vaccine access. As we expand indoor dining, we must expand vaccine access to keep our team members safe.”

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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