Testing centers are expecting a rise in demand after people gather over Labor Day weekend. Many are recommending people make appointments.
SEATTLE — Several large gatherings kicked off the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, the first big holiday weekend after the state instituted an indoor mask mandate, and just days before King County’s outdoor mask mandate goes into effect.
Masks were encouraged, but not required at the Day In Day Out Music Festival at the Seattle Center. Guests were also asked to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at the door.
The Pax West, a gaming convention held at the Seattle Convention Center, required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test as well, in addition to the state’s indoor masking requirement.
Many at Pax West said they didn’t mind the enhanced precautions, and it made them feel safer.
Mason Bergh said it was nice to check out new games. “It’s been a rough couple of years getting to relax and seeing so many people together is kind of a breath of fresh air,” he said.
Kit Miller came up from Portland for the event. He said he’s already gotten tested, and plans to again despite already having gotten the vaccine.
“I have the vaccine but I also had a test before the convention just to make sure I didn’t have covid and I will be getting a test 5-7 days after just to be safe make sure I was safe and didn’t get infected,” he explained.
Event organizers limited the capacity event in addition to the vaccination and testing requirements. They say there was some pushback, but they felt it was the right way to go.
“It’s been difficult to try and account for everyone’s health and safety and make sure we can let in as many people as possible,” organizer Ryan Hartman said.
At the Day In, Day Out music festival, Anastasia Sanchez said even though the event is outdoors, she’s keeping her mask on, although the outdoor mask mandate is still days away from taking effect. “I work in a hospital, so I don’t want to put anybody at risk,” Sanchez said.
Testing sites around western Washington have seen a recent uptick in demand, and are expecting another surge after the holiday weekend. Many sites are now recommending people make appointments.