WA Announces Temporary Closure of Bars and Restaurants
On March 16, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all restaurants, bars and entertainment or recreational facilities are ordered. The closures are in effect until March 31, with the option of extending them. The closure includes:
- Food courts
- Hotel gyms/exercise rooms
- Bars and taverns
- Wine, beer and spirits tasting venues
- Doughnut shops and ice cream parlors
- Coffee shops
- Sit-down restaurants and bars
On March 16, Seattle King County Public Health issued a local health order with these measures:
- All events with more than 50 people are prohibited until further notice.
- All events with fewer than 50 people are discouraged and prohibited unless organizers observe COVID-19 prevention measure.
- All bars, dance clubs, fitness and health clubs, movie theaters, nightclubs, and other social and recreational establishments until at least March 31.
- All restaurants and food service establishments cannot provide dining room service. They may remain open for drive-through, takeout and delivery.
- All other retail – including banks, grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies – should and may remain open, provided they observe COVID-19 prevention measures.
Specific to restaurants and grocery stores:
Food has not been identified as a likely source of COVID-19 at this time; however, food businesses can play an important role in both protecting their employees and their customers from COVID-19 by following the routine food establishment personal and environmental hygiene practices identified below:
• Strengthen health screening of staff and onsite contractors for COVID-19 symptoms.
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds upon first arriving to work, after using the restroom, before and after eating and frequently throughout the day. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
• Provide alcohol based (60%) hand sanitizers or similar cleaners for use for both employees and customers by placing them at convenient/accessible locations.
• Use sanitizing solution (i.e., one teaspoon of unscented household bleach in a gallon of cool water, there is no need to change the ratio of bleach to water to kill the coronavirus. If in doubt, please follow the instructions on the bottle) to frequently sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects such as cash machine key pads, counter tops, dining tables door knobs, electronics, faucet handles, and menus frequently throughout the day. Change the chlorine-based sanitizing solution at least once every four hours.
• Ensure dishwasher and/or three-compartment sinks are used properly and have the appropriate level of sanitizer for final rinse (50-100 PPM chlorine-based sanitizer, follow product label for other approved sanitizers).
• Ensure sneeze guards are in place where required.
If you have food employees at higher risk for COVID-19 with underlying health conditions, such as people 60 or older, people with underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) or those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant: consider temporarily re-assigning them to non-public-contact
State Employment Security Department provides assistance
Governor Inslee and the state Employment Security Department (ESD) has announced an expansion of state policies to offer assistance to impacted individuals and businesses in many circumstances and these emergency rules will help reach more people.
- Governor Inslee’s press release
ESD has created a COVID-19 information page that provides an overview of programs including:
- Unemployment benefits for workers whose companies close or experience a slowdown due to the outbreak,
- Layoff assistance tools and programs for businesses, and
- Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits for workers who get sick or need to care for a sick family member.
- Emergency rule
- ESD Comparison Chart (Scenarios and Benefits)