Emergency agriculture housing rules updated to reflect new masking and physical distancing guidance

May 28, 2021

TUMWATER — The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and the state Department of Health (DOH) filed updated emergency rules today that may impact fully vaccinated workers living in temporary worker housing.

The updated rules align with the CDC guidelines on masking and social distancing for workers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Most of the other requirements under the previous emergency rules, filed May 9, remain in effect and must be followed by housing operators.

The key updates are:

  • Cloth face coverings are no longer required for fully vaccinated workers living in temporary worker housing.
  • With the exception of sleeping quarters, fully vaccinated occupants no longer need to social distance.
  • In sleeping quarters with only fully vaccinated occupants, bed spacing must meet prior requirements, including spacing of at least three feet between single beds and four feet between bunk beds. Both the top and bottom bunk may be used.
  • Operators must verify workers are fully vaccinated, before allowing reduced physical distancing/bed spacing and the discontinued use of cloth face coverings.
  • To verify vaccination status, operators may require the occupant sign a document attesting to their status or provide proof of vaccination. Operators must be able to demonstrate they have verified vaccination status.
  • Operators are not required to verify vaccination status if they choose to continue physical distancing and masking requirements for all occupants at their temporary worker housing sites.
  • Other changes have been made for consistency and clarity.

In addition to masking and physical distancing, the emergency temporary housing rules cover COVID-19 requirements for training, cleaning and sanitation, and ventilation. They also spell out requirements for identifying and isolating symptomatic and confirmed cases, along with medical monitoring and reporting requirements involving workers in isolation.

For media information:

Dina Lorraine, L&I Public Affairs, 360-972-4868

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