There will be lots of rules to follow when businesses and dine-in restaurants reopen


When retail businesses and restaurants reopen in Washington, there will be a whole lot of rules to follow.

Gov. Jay Inslee gave a sneak peek Wednesday at what the rest of the state can expect in the weeks ahead when he issued retail and restaurant guidelines.

Those requirements currently only apply to eight counties that were allowed Tuesday to move to Phase 2 of his Safe Start reopening plan.

Restaurants must keep records of their customers

Getting the most attention is a requirement that restaurants keep a record of all their guests.

“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,” the guidelines state.

Inslee unveiled his contact tracing plan Tuesday, saying he will utilize the Washington National Guard, Department of Licensing and state and local health care officials to track people potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

They then will be placed in in-home quarantine until they have tested negative.

Inslee’s guidelines for retail and restaurants don’t require customers wear face coverings but employees must.

“All businesses are required to post signage at the entrance to their business to strongly encourage their customers to use cloth face coverings when in store with their staff,” the guidelines state.

Restaurant must have disposable menus

For restaurants, the occupancy limit is 50 percent, with tables placed at least 6 feet apart and no more than five people at a table. And there will be no bar seating.

They’re also required to have single-use menus and condiments.

For retail, there can’t be more than a 30 percent occupancy of a store, as determined by fire code.

Businesses will need to have 6-foot spaces marked off outside their stores and assign employees to assist and monitor customers waiting to enter.

In addition, there are requirements for more 6-foot markers inside the store and special hours for high-risk people, when possible.

Trying on but not buying a clothing item

In clothing stores, if someone tries on an item but doesn’t purchase it, that item must be taken off the sales floor and stored for at least 24 hours.

There are also several requirements for hand washing and sanitation practices at restaurants and businesses.

Other sectors of the economy that will be allowed to resume during Phase 2 are real estate, currently idled manufacturing, additional construction, hair and nail salons, barbers, pet groomers and some professional services.

But they won’t be allowed to reopen until specific guidelines are ready for each industry.

The eight counties being allowed to move to Phase 2, based on a population of less than 75,000 and no new COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks, are Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Wahkiakum and Skamania.

It appears the rest of the state will be eligible to move to Phase 2 on May 26. Inslee announced the state was entering Phase 1 May 5 and there will be at least three weeks between each phase.