Month: July 2020

New WA State Safe Start Guidelines begin July 30th

Over the past several weeks, our state has seen a daily rise in COVID infection rates across almost all counties. As these numbers have climbed, our state leaders have taken action to curb the surge of the virus in Washington State. Governor Inslee, Secretary of Health John Weisman, and our state leaders believe that dramatically decreasing people’s desire to travel and otherwise leave their home except for essential services is the next step. Many industries are impacted by today’s decision in a negative way, including the WA wine industry. To this end, Governor Inslee today announced that effective July 30th, several major updates to his Safe Start plan will be implemented:


Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries, and Taverns Must Cease Indoor Service : These licensees will need to close down their indoor service. Employees are allowed indoors, but all guest service must take place outside. All to-go, curbside, and delivery sales privileges utilized by wineries remain in place. (For Yakima, Benton, and Franklin Counties currently in modified Phase 1, we do not yet know if these restrictions impact the tasting rooms not yet able to open. We will follow up with clarification as soon as we can.)


Outdoor Service Allowed at 50%: Outdoor service will continue to be allowed for wineries and other impacted businesses at 50% occupancy. We have included a link and description of options for expanding the outdoor space of your winery tasting room below.


10 PM Closing Time: Winery tasting rooms and other impacted businesses will need to close each evening by 10 PM.


Close Any Vending or Game-like ActivitiesAll vending or gaming-like activities outside of being seated and dining/drinking are not allowed.  Examples include pool, video games, and similar attractions that create high-traffic touch points.


Phases 2 and 3 Group Limits Are Now the Same: For Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries, and Taverns, Phase 2 and Phase 3 group limits are now identical, with a 5 ppl maximum allowance per group. For restaurant licensees (including any wineries with one of these licenses), the 5 ppl for indoor seating still allowed must be from the same house hold. For winery and other impacted licenses that are not restaurants, the outdoor groups of maximum 5 ppl do NOT need to be from the same house hold.

Governor Announces New Statewide Orders

Governor Announces New Statewide Orders on Masks, Phase 3 Changes to Bar Use, and a Pause on County Phase Changes

Many states and areas within states across the country have closed down bar area and indoor dining/drinking in response to the surge in COVID-19 infection rates over the past month. For Washington State, effective July 7, Governor Inslee has issued the following temporary changes to his WA Safe Start Plan:

Businesses Required to Enforce “No Mask, No Service” Rule

Beginning July 7th, businesses statewide are required to refuse service to any customers refusing to wear a face covering. This includes both indoor and outdoor service. Yakima County has previously been operating under this policy and Governor Inslee is now extending this requirement statewide.

There are limited exemptions to this order:

  1. Children under the age of two should not wear face coverings. Children ages three and four are encouraged, but not required to wear a face covering.
  2. Exemptions also include those with certain medical conditions who may be adversely impacted by wearing a facial covering.
  3. Customers may remove face coverings while seated (eating and drinking) or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

WA businesses are required to enforce the “No Mask, No Service” mandate. Our friends at the WA Hospitality Association have put together these helpful guidelines on how to encourage customers to mask up.

No Bar Area Use During Phase 3

Governor Inslee announced the temporary change to Phase 3 counties removing the allowance of up-to 25% bar-area use. Starting July 7, wineries in Phase 3 counties must close down any seating or similar use of the bar area.

The 75% indoor/outdoor capacity space use and parties of 10 or less for Phase 3 are not impacted under these changes to the WA Safe Start plan. Also, any business operating in a Phase 3 county must have a written safety plan.

County Phase Advancements on Hold:

Effective immediately, all applications for county phase advancements have been put on hold until July 16. Counties will remain in their current phase for at least the next two weeks. Here is the current list of counties, by phase.

Modified Phase 1: Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Yakima

Phase 2: Adams, Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Okanogan, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Walla Walla, Whatcom

Phase 3: Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whitman

Phase 4: No Counties

As a reminder, we worked with WSU and our WA wine industry colleages to create the Phase 2 Requirements, Guidelines, Best Practices, and a useful Checklist.

If you have any questions on the Governor’s Safe Start Phased Reopening Plan, how it impacts your winery based on what Phase your county is in, or anything else please don’t hesitate to contact us at