Table for 2? Leave your email. Gov lays out strict guidelines for restaurants in phase two

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OLYMPIA, Wash — When Washington restaurants open for dine-in service in phase 2 of the governor’s “Safe Start” plan, things will look a lot different.

Not only will tables have to be placed six feet apart, restaurants will be required to keep a log of patrons for 30 days in case contact tracers need to notify them of possible exposure to COVID-19.

Under Gov. Inslee’s plan, restaurants won’t be able to move to phase 2 until at least June 1st. But, with eight counties receiving permission to move to that phase now, Inslee’s office released the guidelines Monday night.

Under the guidelines:

  • Hand sanitizer must be available at entry for all staff and patrons
  • No bar seating
  • Parties and tables must be five people or less
  • Guest occupancy must be 50% capacity. Outdoor seating does not count against capacity, but must also be 50%
  • Tables must be far enough apart to keep guests six feet from people at adjacent tables or there must be a barrier or booth
  • It’s strongly suggested customers wear a face mask when they aren’t seated at the table
  • Buffets and salad bars are not permitted
  • Any condiments left at the table must be sanitized after each use
  • Restaurants must implement a social distancing plan for lobby/pay areas
  • If restaurant has table service, restaurant must maintain a log of phone/email contact info and time they came in. Log must be kept for 30 days. “This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.”

Contact tracing is the method health departments will use to track down any people who may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Health experts nationwide say contact tracing is key to tracking the virus in a community.

RELATED CONTACT: Team of 25 contact tracers ‘ready to go’ in Spokane County

The governor’s office says restaurants must also educate workers on the guidelines in place. Those restaurants must also provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for employees.

The guidelines say employees who are not working alone should wear a face mask as well.

Restaurants are also required to screen workers at the start of each shift for any symptoms of COVID-19. The plan says the workers who choose to remove themselves from a job site because of concerns over the virus are eligible for certain state benefits.

You can read the full list of safety guidelines at this link.

Other industries can also resume in phase 2, like in-store shopping and the reopening of hair salons and barbershops. The governor’s office has yet to announce the guidelines for those industries.

MORE DETAIL: Read Gov. Inslee’s steps for reopening Washington