Restaurants may open under strict guidelines
May 14, 2020
As Wahkiakum County enters a Phase 2 opening for covid-19 virus precautions, restaurants and other eating establishments may resume dining in premises under state guidelines.
According to a news release from the governor's office, through the Washington "Safe Start" plan, more businesses and activities will re-open in subsequent phases with adequate safety and health standards in place. Each phase will be at least three weeks — metrics and data will guide when the state can move from one phase to another.
Through the Safe Start approach, counties such as Wahkiakum with a population of less than 75,000 that have not had a new case of COVID-19 in the past three weeks can apply for a variance to move to Phase 2 of “Safe Start” before other parts of the state. County variance applications will be approved or denied by the secretary of the Department of Health. Eight counties have received the variance.
Wahkiakum had new cases reported May 6 and over the weekend, but county Health & Human Services Director Chris Bischoff consulted with the state Secretary of Health and cleared Wahkiakum for a Phase 2 variance.
For counties granted variance to move to Phase 2, restaurant operations may resume with limitations after meeting specific criteria, effective Tuesday.
"No restaurant or tavern may operate indoor or sit-down services until they can meet and maintain all requirements, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply," the guidance states.
The restaurant/tavern must adopt a written procedure for dine-in service that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 procedure below and complies with all safety and health requirements.
Restaurant/tavern must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the Governor’s guidance, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces, and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations (DOH). All businesses are strongly encouraged to require their customers to use cloth face coverings when interacting with their staff.
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 five 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.
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 six 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.
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.