Strict guidelines roll out for restaurant reopenings

As restaurant owners around the state prepare to reopen in the coming weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office has announced very specific criteria for dine-in service that will be permitted under Phase 2 of the reopening plan.

So far, eight counties—Stevens, Wahkiakum, Skamania, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Columbia, Garfield and Lincoln —have been approved to move into Phase 2, which will allow restaurants to offer dining in at 50 percent capacity.

But the restrictions don’t stop there; restaurants will also be required to keep a daily log for 30 days of every customer that dines in in order to trace contact in the case of COVID-19 transmission.

Here’s the full list of reopening criteria:

  1. Hand sanitizer should be available at entry for all staff and patrons (assuming supply availability).
  2. No bar seating is permitted during Phase 2. If an establishment has bar seating it must be closed off to prohibit use.
  3. If the establishment does not offer table service, they must have protocols in place to ensure adequate social distancing at food and drink pick-up stations, and seating within their dining area.
  4. All parties and tables must be 5 guests or less.
  5. Guest occupancy must be 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code. Outdoor seating is permitted but must also be at 50% capacity. Outdoor seating does not count toward the building occupancy limit. Outdoor seating must follow all other
    requirements in this document.
  6. Tables must be placed far enough apart when measured from occupied chair to occupied chair, to ensure dine-in guests seated at a table are a minimum of 6 feet away from guests at adjacent table, or there must be a physical barrier or wall separating booths or tables.
  7. It is strongly suggested customers wear a cloth face covering anytime they are not seated at the table (while being seated or leaving, or while going to the restroom).
  8. Buffets and salad bars are not permitted at this time but may be addressed through subsequent interpretive guidance.
  9. If the establishment offers table service, create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in. This will
    facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.
  10. Single use menus are required for in-person dining.
  11. Any condiments typically left on the table (ketchup, soy sauce, etc.) must be single-use or sanitized after each use.
  12. Restaurants must have implemented a plan to ensure proper physical distancing in lobby/waiting areas/payment counters.
  13. Minimize the number of staff serving any given table. It is strongly recommended that one staff person take a table’s order, bring all of their beverages/food/utensils, take their payment, etc.

Restaurants will also be expected to screen every employee for symptoms of COVID-19, and all staff must wear cloth face coverings while working.

King County is still a few weeks off entering Phase 2, which could happen as early as June 1.

Photo: Lauri Miller

16 thoughts to “Strict guidelines roll out for restaurant reopenings”

  1. This seems very reasonable. I’m sure there will be some wrinkles to iron out since this is so new but this is a very good starting point.

    The most important part of this is the contract tracing logbook and I hope people take that seriously.

    1. For God’s sakes. Did U learn a thing in school? Did U miss the part about fascism and WW2? I realize facts are a tough thing for many Ballard residents, but do you really want to “hand over your papers” and information to eat a meal?? Do you realize the damage this could cause AND the added hassles for businesses?? Restaurants already have a tough enough time without this Nazi crap.
      Alas, comrade Inslee dumps his scheme to take your information. Hoorah for sanity and the constitution.

      1. You’re a hard person to take seriously when you take so much pride in your ignorance.

        I have a copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” if you would like to borrow it and learn more about the Nazis.

        1. Having studied the NS era extensively, though primarily as expressed in the arts, I am unfamiliar with any policy that existed in Germany to collect diners’ information prior to their dining. Were people asked for their papers and otherwise identified as non-Aryan? Yes, but not as a prerequisite to dine. It was for the purpose of being sent to their deaths, not to prevent the deaths of thousands in a pandemic. You’ve been sniffing too much of your paint, Your Majesty.

  2. All looks good, I’m looking forward to eating at some of my favorite spots, helping them get back on their feet.

    I’m sure all the Karens will be out in force reporting violations too, taking a break from calling the cops on joggers and kids kicking soccer balls in the park.

  3. I’ll be very sad if we start losing our great coffee shops. Seats inside were set so close together and to reduce seating to space things out, the coffee shops might lose too much income. I think most of all I long to go back to these places. A gathering place that gave us a sense of community.

  4. Not very many people would go to a restaurant that seemed unsafe. So why the authoritarianism? It isn’t needed. The consumers will reward businesses that create the safest environment and punish those who don’t.
    Would you go to a restaurant that had no safety precautions? I know I wouldn’t.
    These are things that the businesses need to figure out. They are much closer to the people than Olympian politicians. They will be far better positioned to address any concerns people have and they will be highly motivated to address those concerns. Our politicians on the other hand…

    1. This same kind of logic could be applied to general food safety regulations. Why the authoritarianism? Once people get sick from eating the food, the market will punish that restaurant.

      These guidelines are set based on recommendations of experts in the field, not just politicians. Who really might know more about safety than the business owners.

      1. this conversation is moot. “most” restaurants will be gone in a year.

        James Beard award winner “Edouardo Jordan, chef and owner of the acclaimed Southern-influenced Ravenna restaurants JuneBaby, Salare, and Lucinda Grain Bar,I’ll only reopen [for dine-in service] if all my expenses are 75 percent off, 100 percent of rent is free and 100 percent of my staff is comfortable with coming back with the understanding that they would be at 50 percent the hours they were at before.

    2. The great thing is that you can still get takeout from any restaurant you choose and eat it without giving any of your information whatsoever.

      We can definitely argue whether log books may be government overreach, but I think you need to reassess your definition of authoritarianism.

  5. “create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in. This will
    facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.”

    Neva happin GI

  6. Why any restaurant would try to continue in Seattle is beyond me. I will not be eating in a plastic bubble and I will not be leaving my name and numbers. Good luck. Are we really ready for the future they are creating here?

    1. Maybe because they love to cook, they know people like their food, they enjoy people, they want to be their own boss, they’re optimistic by nature…those are a few reasons.

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