Category: WWI News

New WA Safe Start Guidelines for Wineries as of 10/6/20

Governor Inslee announced on Tuesday October 6th new guidance for Restaurants, Taverns, Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries under his Safe Start plan. Major updates include:

Indoor Service: It is no longer required for table mates to be from the same household. Wineries and tasting rooms are permitted to operate at a limited indoor capacity if they offer very basic food service, as outlined below. Indoor capacity is 50% for Phases 2 and 3, and 25% for Phase 1.5.

Outdoor Service: Outdoor service will continue to be allowed for wineries and other impacted businesses at 50% occupancy, with no food requirement. For outdoor seating, a temporary structure may be used. Outdoor structures (temporary or permanent) should have no more than two walls to provide appropriate ventilation. The limitation on walls applies to both rigid and flexible walls. We have included a link and description of options for expanding the outdoor space of your winery tasting room below.

Table occupancy: In Phase 2 the maximum table size is increased to six (6) individuals and in Phase 3 the maximum table size is increased to eight (8) individuals. We have asked for clarification for wineries in Phase 1.5. Standing is prohibited in any area of establishment, except for the lobby/waiting area and then must be done while maintaining 6 feet of distance between patrons.

Table spacing: There is a minor modification to table spacing rules for both indoor and outdoor seating. Tables must be spaced 6 feet away from adjacent tables, or there must be a physical barrier or wall separating booths or tables. Prior guidance required tables to be spaced 6 feet apart from occupied chair to occupied chair.

11 PM Closing Time: Winery tasting rooms and other impacted businesses will need to end alcohol service each evening by 11 PM. This was previously 10 PM.

Bar seating remains closed. This is defined as the area with a bar table/counter where patrons sit or stand side-by-side across where alcoholic drinks and refreshments are served. Counter-style seating is permitted in other areas of the establishment (indoors or outdoors). Six feet of distance is required between parties and other tables.

Governor Inslee announced that no counties will progress phases at this point.

All social distancing requirements must be met indoors and outdoors.

Updated Food Menu Guidance to Resume Indoor Service

In order to resume indoor dining, wineries must meet the following requirements:

LCB GUIDELINES

  1. Offer no less than three menu items meeting the food types as required under the Safe Start guidelines (such as sandwiches, salad, soup, pizza, hamburgers, fry orders, or substantial hors d’oeuvres/appetizers)
  2. Obtain any required food service permit/license from their local jurisdiction
  3. Foods may be fresh, processed, pre-cooked, commercially pre-packaged and ready to eat, or frozen
  4. No additional handling or preparation is required beyond what is allowed under a brewery, winery, distillery, or tavern licensee’s local food handling permit
  5. Wineries, breweries, distilleries, and taverns may purchase items from a caterer, licensed food preparation/packaging operation (restaurant) for resale. Food must be purchased in advance and may not be sold on consignment
  6. Regardless of the food provided, breweries, wineries, distilleries, and taverns may only sell alcohol that they are licensed by LCB to sell
  7. If a winery, brewery, distillery, or tavern wants to become a Beer/Wine (BW) Restaurant or a Spirits/Beer/Wine (SBW) Restaurant before, during, or after Phase 4, they must submit an application to LCB to convert their license type and must meet the food requirements set forth at WAC 314-02-010(14) (BW Restaurant) or WAC 314-02-035 (SBW Restaurant)
  8. These food service requirements are in addition to the COVID-19 restaurant guidance and restrictions, and are set forth in efforts to allow limited non-restaurant liquor license businesses an opportunity to operate with indoor service during Phase 2 and 3 of the governor’s proclamation. The intent is to allow limited operations mitigating the risk of COVID-19 infection spread, by avoiding social gatherings and primarily social drinking outlets
  9. These food service requirement will be in place until phase 4 reopening of businesses, and may be modified in response to governor and public health guideline changes

You can find the full industry guidance here: https://lcb.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/temp_links/Coronavirus-At-a-Glance-Update-8-20-2020.pdf

These guidelines do not require you to put in a kitchen or additional equipment, do not require the preparation of foods on-site, nor do they require that you obtain a beer/wine restaurant license. Additionally, customers are not required to purchase a food item.

Update for Wineries to Gov Inslee’s July 30th Safe Start Plan

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Governor Inslee announced a very important update. Effective July 30, wineries and tasting rooms in most counties are permitted to operate at 50% indoor capacity if they offer food service. This does not require a restaurant license. You can find the updated guidance by clicking here.

This is an important change from last week’s decision to close down all indoor service at wineries and breweries that don’t have a restaurant license and recognizes what the Washington Wine Institute and our partners in other alcohol and hospitality industries have spent the past month pushing on the Governor’s office to give us parity with restaurants who are still allowed to operated indoors if they provide some type of food service. All social distancing requirements per Phase 2 Guidelines must be met indoors and outdoors. These updated guidelines do not impact outdoor service – there continues to be no requirement to provide food if you plan to remain operating only outdoors.

Food service is defined as the following:

  1. Provide a reasonable number of menu items such as: sandwiches, salad, soup, pizza, hamburgers, fry orders, or substantial hors d’oeuvres/appetizers.
  2. These menu items must be prepared onsite and may not be offered by a contractor.
  3. Obtain any required food service permit/license from your local jurisdiction. Your city/county food service permit may or may not allow for the service of the types of foods listed in the above requirements. If you are not sure what types of food your food service permit allows for, contact your local health department to ensure you have the appropriate permit.

Outdoor seating: For outdoor seating, a temporary structure may be used. Outdoor structures (temporary or permanent) should have no more than two walls to provide appropriate ventilation. The limitation on walls applies to both rigid and flexible walls.

You can find a description of options for expanding the outdoor space of your winery tasting room here.

Compliance document: The LCB is creating a a guidance document we hope to be able to share by next week for you to post in your business showing, if you choose to reopen indoors by meeting the requirements above, you are in compliance and operating legally.

We will be working with the Washington State Department of Health and the Liquor and Cannabis Board in the coming days to provide more information on menu and preparation requirements.

Bar seating remains closed. This is defined as the area with a bar table/counter where patrons sit or stand side-by-side across where alcoholic drinks and refreshments are served. Counter-style seating is permitted in other areas of the establishment (indoors or outdoors). Six feet of distance is required between parties and other tables.

Closing time: Winery tasting rooms and other impacted businesses will need to end all alcohol consumption each evening by 10 PM.

Close Any Vending or Game-like Activities: All 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.

For all current restrictions, Phase 2 Guidelines & Best Practices and a FAQ, see the resource page on our website.

 

UPDATE: YAKIMA, BENTON, FRANKLIN COUNTIES

The above indoor allowance does not apply to YakimaBenton & Franklin counties, but health departments in these counties have adjusted the modified Phase 1 restrictions to include tasting rooms. Beginning on Saturday, August 1, wineries and tasting rooms are permitted to be open outdoors only at 50% capacity. No indoor service is permitted.

Occupancy:

  1. In Yakima County, only members of the same household may be seated together outside.
  2. In all other counties, customers may be seated outdoors with people from outside of their household.
  3. In counties where indoor seating is permitted with food service, only groups from the same household may be seated together.
  4. In all cases, there is a maximum of 5 people per table.

 

 

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 josh@wwi.wine.

2020 WWI Annual Membership Meeting

Thank you to all our members who were able to join us today, June 25th, in our first virtual membership meeting to learn what WWI has been up to this Spring and hear updates from our board member chairs. We also heard from expert panelist on topics that are affecting our wineries today.

We want to extend a huge “THANK YOU” to our webinar speakers including:

  1. Dr Byron Marlowe, Ph.D and MBA, The School of Hospitality Management, Washington State University
  2. Sara Bailey, CPA, Senior Manager  – Moss Adams
  3. Danielle Newhouse, CPA,  Manager  – Moss Adams
  4. Christina Kyriazi– VP of Marketing – Ekos Winemaker

We’ve put together a recording of the webinar as well as the resources and other documents used or referenced during the webinar.  Some have been added below:

WWI Annual Membership Meeting Webinar Link

WWI AMM Board Presentation 2020 Final

Experience Audit For Progressive Stage 2 an 3 Openings in Washington Tasting Rooms

Moss Adams Five Ways to Increase Cash Flow

Ekos Winemaker  – Marketing in the time of COVID

A special thank you to our top level sponsors of today’s webinar:

         

 

Governor Inslee announced three major updates to his Safe Start plan on June 5th

King County in Phase 1.5: As of  June 5, King County moved into “Phase 1.5,” which allows some Phase 2 activities to begin. For wineries, means: indoor seating and service is permitted at 25% of capacity, and outdoor seating and service is permitted at 50% of existing outdoor capacity. All other restrictions would remain in place. If you would like to add or extend outdoor service, see this notice from the WSLCB with full details.

14 Counties Change to a New Phase: Several counties moved into Phase 2.  If your winery is located in a county that has recently entered Phase 2, see below for information regarding specific requirements and guidelines.  

Face Coverings: A new requirement was announced that starting June 8, all employers in Washington must post signage at their place of business strongly encouraging customers to wear cloth facial coverings. There is no directive on exactly what sign needs to be used, but you can find good options herehere and here.

Phase 2 Requirements & Guidelines

Governor’s Phase 2 Reopening COVID-19 Requirements
The Governor’s office is asking every business to adopt a written procedure for dine-in service that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 requirements, as linked above. The businesses must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the State of WashingtonDOH, DOL & L&I.

Phase 2 Reopening Guidelines, Best Practices, and Checklist
State leaders worked with Byron Marlowe, Professor of Hospitality Management at WSU, to put together a comprehensive list of guidelines and suggested best practices for wineries. 

  1. Washington Winery COVID 19 Reopening Requirements Guidelines and Best Practices.
  2. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Operations Checklist.
  3. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Posters.
  4. Voluntary Customer Log Template.

FAQ
We worked with our industry partners to put together a FAQ with answers informed by state government officials. This will be updated regularly.

Phase 3: More to Come

Several counties moved into Phase 3 today. During this phase, on-premise activities may resume at 75% capacity and bar areas may open at 25% capacity.

We are working to provide additional context regarding Phase 3 and what it means for wineries, but in the meantime, Gov. Inslee released a template for business in Phase 3. Each business operating in Phase 3 must develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out the template to fulfill the requirement or may develop its own safety plan. 

Questions?

This is an unprecedented time and we understand there are a lot of questions. Our goal is to streamline the collection of questions and capture them all in one place so that we can share your questions with the appropriate authorities and create a helpful FAQ for all wineries to utilize. We have created this simple form for you to submit your questions through, but always feel free to email us directly as well.

We will continue to work with our industry partners to provide updates and information to best support you as you reopen your tasting rooms. We look forward to raising a glass in-person soon, but know that we are here for you virtually in the meantime.

To our current Washington Wine Institute members, thank you for your investment in our work with your dues renewals. WWI can only exist and do all we can in these challenging times for our WA wineries through your membership dollars and active engagement in our political and regulatory work for the industry. If you are not yet a WA Wine Institute member, please consider joining and being a part of your statewide trade association for Washington wineries. Learn more about WWI, membership benefits, and more by clicking here

Winery and Brewery Phase 2 Reopening Requirements and Best Practices: Q&A with DOH and L&I Webinar

Over 300 Washington winery and brewery owners and tasting room managers joined us Tuesday May 26th to learn from the Washington State Department of Health and Labor and Industries how to better understand the COVID-19 Phase 2 reopening state requirements  as well as learn from Dr. Byron Marlowe of Washington State University recommended best practices for breweries and wineries as we all work on how to successfully reopen our establishments in Phase 2.

We want to extend a huge “THANK YOU” to our webinar speakers including:

  1. Susan Shelton, Washington State Department of Health
  2. Pamela Cant, Washington State Labor and Industries
  3. Dr Byron Marlowe, Ph.D and MBA, The School of Hospitality Management, Washington State University

We’ve put together a recording of the webinar as well as the resources and other documents used or referenced during the webinar. We are sharing them industry-wide in hope that these resources are helpful for wineries and breweries. Please see below!

Winery and Brewery Phase 2 Reopening Requirements and Best Practices: Q&A with DOH and L&I Webinar Recording

Phase 2 Requirements and Guidelines Resources

Experience Design Guide- Hospitality beverage experience development for reopening

WBG WWI Winegrowers COVID-19 Phase 2 Reopening Q-A 2020.06.04 FINAL

Phase 2 Requirements & Guidelines

As Washington counties slowly move into Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan, we want to provide you with the resources to reopen your tasting rooms in a quick, yet safe and responsible manner.

As a reminder, wineries that are able to adhere to social distancing requirements will be allowed to reopen during Phase 2. Several counties have already moved into Phase 2, and several more are under petition.

State leaders and health experts will be closely monitoring specific data and metrics to determine when we can safely move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and so on. Please note that until your county moves into Phase 2, the state requires that you still adhere to current restrictions.

Phase 2 Requirements & Guidelines

Governor’s Phase 2 Reopening COVID-19 Requirements
The Governor’s office is asking every business to adopt a written procedure for dine-in service that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 requirements, as linked above. The businesses must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the State of WashingtonDOH, DOL & L&I.

Phase 2 Reopening Guidelines, Best Practices, and Checklist
State leaders worked with Byron Marlow, Professor of Hospitality Management at WSU, to put together a comprehensive list of guidelines and suggested best practices for wineries.

  1. Washington Winery COVID 19 Reopening Requirements Guidelines and Best Practices.
  2. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Operations Checklist.
  3. Washington Winery COVID 19 Supplement Response Posters.
  4. Voluntary Customer Log Template.

FAQ
We worked with our industry partners to put together a FAQ with answers informed by state government officials. This will be updated regularly.

Governor Inslee released the final Phase 2 social distancing requirements for wineries

Governor Inslee has released the final Phase 2 social distancing requirements for restaurants, taverns, wineries, breweries, and other food/beverage industries. You can view the guidelines here, or we have listed them below.

These guidelines are part of the Governor’s Safe Start plan, which is a phased in approach to reopening Washington’s economy. While the Stay at Home order has been extended through the end of May, Safe Start outlines a plan for reopening in four phases. Phase 1 began last week, and wineries that are able to adhere to social distancing requirements will be included in Phase 2.

State leaders and health experts will be closely monitoring specific data and metrics to determine when we can safely move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and so on. Please note that until your county moves into Phase 2, you must still adhere to the current restrictions. Several counties have moved into Phase 2 already, including Ferry, Stevens, Pond Oreille, Lincoln, Garfield, Columbia, Skamania, and Wahkiakum.

Once your county moves into Phase 2, here are the restrictions that wineries must follow:

Phase 2 Reopening COVID-19 Requirements
Every business must adopt a written procedure for dine-in service that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 procedure below.  The businesses must ensure strict adherence to all measures established by the State of WashingtonL&IDOL and the DOH

Dine-In Service, applies to Tasting Rooms: 

  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 5 guests or less.
  5. Guest occupancy must be 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower as determined by the fire code.
  6. Outdoor seating is permitted but must also be at 50% capacity. Outdoor seating does not count toward the building occupancy limit, but it must follow all other reopening requirements.
  7. 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 6 feet away from guests at  adjacent table, or there must be a physical barrier or wall separating booths or tables.
  8. 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). Please note that King County has issued a directive for citizens to wear face masks in public.
  9. Buffets and salad bars are not permitted at this time but may be addressed through subsequent interpretive guidance.
  10. 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.
  11. All menus must be single-use.
  12. Any condiments typically left on the table must be single-use or sanitized after each use.
  13. Businesses must have implemented a plan to ensure proper physical distancing in lobby/waiting areas/payment counters.
  14. 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.

Employee Safety and Health:

  1. Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
  2. Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees (and customers) in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, minimize staff or customers in narrow or enclosed areas, stagger breaks, and work shift starts.
  3. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate or required to employees for the activity being performed. Cloth facial coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the job site unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Department of Labor & Industries safety and health rules and guidance. Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in the Department of Health guidance.
  4. Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent transmission on tools or other items that are shared.
  5. Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.
  6. Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at start of shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC to deep clean and sanitize.

We want to emphasize that no winery or other listed industry partially opening in Phase 2 may do so if they cannot adhere to the above requirements. The Governor’s office also states that no reopening inspections are required prior to a winery reopening provided they meet and maintain all requirements.

We are working with our partners and the WSU Department of Hospitality to put together a list of best practices for reopening tasting rooms. In the meantime, please refer to the “Tasting Rooms Should” portion of the California Wine Institute’s Tasting Room Reopening Protocols. This had been thoroughly vetted and will help to inform the protocols in Washington.

In Phase 3, on-premise activities may resume at 75% capacity and bar areas may open at 25% capacity. We will be working to provide additional context for these capacity limitations and what that will look like for wineries.

Curbside & Delivery Rules:
We understand that many consumers will want to continue to limit contact for some time and these services will be an important part of your operations, even as on-premise activities start to resume. We are working with the LCB in efforts to extend all temporary curbside and delivery allowances currently available to liquor licensees. We anticipate these sales allowances will continue to be allowed and be an important part of a winery’s overall business model as our state slowly transitions through our phased reopening.

This is an unprecedented time and we understand there are a lot of questions. Our goal is to streamline the collection of questions and capture them all in one place so that we can share your questions with the appropriate authorities and create a helpful FAQ for all wineries to utilize. We have created this simple form for you to submit your questions through, but always feel free to email us directly as well.
There are many pieces to come together in the coming weeks. We are here for you. Know that we are advocating for your winery and will continue to provide updates and information to support you as you prepare for reopening of on-premise activities.

 

Stay Safe