Strict guidelines roll out for restaurant reopenings – My Ballard

Restaurant News

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

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