For months, Janelle Pfeifer has felt a tinge of fear whenever a customer comes into the busy Pike Place Market restaurant where she works. Sometimes she feels more like a babysitter than a restaurant worker – constantly reminding diners to put their masks back on when they get up from their table.
The restaurant has precautions like temperature checks for anyone who comes in. But it has frustrated Pfeifer, 29, that she and her colleagues haven’t been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, even after restaurants moved to 50% capacity for indoor dining.
“This whole time it feels like we were treated as essential workers because restaurants had to be open,” Pfeifer said. “But at the same time we weren’t, because we weren’t on the [eligibility] list.”
That changes today. Pfeifer, along with about 2 million other Washington residents, are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine under the state’s priority plan.
Phase 1B, Tiers 3 and 4 include all people 60 and older; people 16 years and older with two or more underlying health conditions; restaurant, food service, manufacturing and construction workers in congregate settings; and people who live, work or volunteer in settings like prisons, group homes and places where people experiencing homelessness live or receive services.