Category: WWI News

Statewide Mask Mandate – Aug. 23rd, 2021

Governor Inslee announced a statewide mask mandate for all indoor spaces to go into effect Monday, August 23. This mandate includes those vaccinated and unvaccinated. For wineries and tasting rooms, everyone should wear a face covering anytime they are not actively eating or drinking.

Exemptions to the mask requirement are limited to office spaces not easily accessible to the public and small, private indoor gatherings where everyone is vaccinated. 

The Governor also announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education.

We will continue to work with our industry partners to provide updates and information to best support you during this time. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of help in any way.

 

June 30, 2021 Updated Guidance

Governor Inslee released a statement yesterday afternoon reaffirming that businesses may mostly return to business-as-usual effective today Wednesday, June 30th. Updated guidance was also released. You can read more about the Governor’s announcement in his accompanying press release.

Indoor and outdoor guidance effective June 30

Effective 12:01 AM on June 30, all industry sectors previously covered by guidance in the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery or the Safe Start Reopening Plan may return to usual capacity and operations, with limited exceptions for large indoor events (any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an indoor, enclosed space.)

Reopening guidance:

  1. Vaccine verification/negative testing: For Wineries please see guidance below specific to employers in our industry
  2. Capacity limitations: No restrictions in restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, theaters etc. (except large indoor events)
  3. For Wineries, this includes the return use of our bar area!
  4. Physical distancing: No requirements
  5. Facial coverings: Not required for vaccinated individuals, unless the business chooses to require them
  6. Travelers: Follow CDC recommendations

Guidance Specific to Employers Regarding Fully Vaccinated vs. Not, including Masks, Methods for Vaccine Verification, and More

Requirements for places of employment issued by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries have been updated herePlease read these carefully and thoroughly! This resource includes:

  1. Detailed options for fully vaccinated workers to go without a mask
  2. Methods for verification of worker vaccination status
  3. Employers must be able to show the process used to verify employee vaccination status. However, they do not need to keep an actual copy of the employee’s vaccination records. Acceptable types of verification include:
    1. Vaccine card or photo of vaccine card
    2. Documentation from a health care provider
    3. State immunization information system record
    4. A hard copy or electronically signed self-attestation from the employee.
  4. Choices workers have to continue to mask up
  5. And other updated guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job and help employers meet their obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

From all of us at the Washington Wine Institute, we want to say a big “THANK YOU” to every one of our members for your amazing ability to stay nimble, creative, and do whatever was necessary to both keep your employees and customers safe during the pandemic while also working tirelessly to keep your doors open and wine sales happening to the extent possible.

When March 16, 2020 brought us a full business shutdown and the future became very unknown, we went to work and never stopped pushing within our Governor’s office, LCB, Dept of Health, Labor and Industries, Department of Commerce, and all state agencies to advocate as aggressively as possible for our members including pushing back on harmful ideas and constantly pitching ways they can accept temporary sales and operation rules to help us survive the pandemic. From curbside service, to home delivery, to (sometimes very) creative ways to utilize our outdoor spaces, to “open air dining” allowances so we can use our permanent spaces, and so much more. We also tried to provide consistent and timely communications and sent over 40 pandemic-related emails since March 2020 as a commitment make sure we provided as much support and guidance as possible.

We hope this work and effort helped your winery these past very difficult 15 months. Your team at WWI could not have done this work without your investment in us via dues and your many phone calls, emails, attendance at webinars, and the many ways we got through the business restrictions portion of the pandemic together. We have a lot more to do as we look forward to the rest of 2021 and into 2022, and we are humbled to have every one of our members and incredibly grateful for your positive support and expert guidance.

Vino For Vaccines Incentive Program

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, in partnership with Governor Inslee’s office, state, and local health officials, created a very temporary COVID alcohol incentive allowance to support the on-going public health COVID-19 vaccination effort! Through June 30th, WA wineries, breweries, restaurants, and other liquor licensees can voluntarily choose to participate by hosting a vaccination clinic at your winery and/or satellite tasting rooms or by providing a purchased alcohol-based incentive for a customer who can show proof they received a COVID vaccine shot between May 15-June 30. This is a completely voluntary incentive-based effort to get more vaccines in arms so our state can fully reopen once we hit 70% of eligible WA residents have at least one vaccine dose administered.

Host a pop-up vaccination clinic at your winery and/or satellite tasting room(s)

We can help you partner with your local health department to schedule a pop-up vaccination event at your winery and/or tasting rooms in June. Please note, pop-up clinics will be dependent on local health capacity and they may not be able to accommodate all requests. Complete the form via this link to register and we will be in touch soon to help you get all you need to successfully host a pop up vaccine site at the winery or tasting room(s).

Wineries who would like to provide some incentive between now and June 30 but are not able to host a vaccine site, please email us at josh@wwi.wine with a good contact name and we will be available to help assist your team with any help, questions, or other to feel confident as you participate in this vaccination effort. Again, this entire effort is completely voluntary. The goal is to promote vaccinations and responsible wine tasting experiences so our state can fully reopen.

Compliance

The Liquor & Cannabis Board has adopted a temporary advisement to make compliance for this event supporting public health easier. On-premises liquor establishments may offer one alcoholic beverage at no cost to customers with proof of vaccination under the following conditions:

  1. The customer provides proof to their server that they were vaccinated (first or second vaccination) between May 15, and June 30, 2021 (licensees may choose a window of time between the vaccination date and when the drink can be redeemed, as long as the vaccination was completed within the allowed time period);
  2. Customers are limited to one drink;
  3. The liquor establishment can provide the drink, or a non-industry member sponsor may pay for the drink;
  4. The drink and taxes are paid for at cost of production by the licensee or a non-industry sponsor; and
  5. Advertisements and public information provided by licensees related to drink with vaccination promotions may not contain the words “free” or “complimentary” but may indicate a drink will be purchased on the customer’s behalf with proof of vaccination.

This allowance will expire July 1, 2021. For additional questions, please contact LCB Customer Service at (360) 664-1600, or your enforcement officer.

 

Governor Inslee Announces A Plan Towards A Full Reopening

Governor Inslee announced a plan to move forward in his Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan.

On Tuesday, May 18, all counties moved or stayed in Phase 3, which allows indoor service at 50% capacity and a limit of 10 people per table.

In addition, the Governor announced the new strategy for reopening will be focused on vaccination rates. He expects the state will entirely reopen on June 30, or sooner if 70% of eligible Washington residents receive at least their first vaccine. As soon as this happens, COVID restrictions on most industries – including eating and drinking establishments – will be lifted.

Mask Guidelines
The Governor also announced that Washington will adopt the CDC’s new federal guidelines for masks. This new guidance is for fully vaccinated people, meaning people who are two weeks removed from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The state will work with the Department of Health and Labor & Industries to update our guidance documents as soon as possible.

…..effective immediately with the exception of Seattle/King County,

  1. Businesses are not required to enforce masking for non-vaccinated patrons. This is consistent with our current mask order
  2. Businesses are not required to check vax cards or any other proof of vaccination
  3. Businesses may still adopt a policy that masks are required for all patrons and a policy to check for proof of vaccination

Be Confident, Be Compliant Webinar

Thursday June 17, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

This webinar is free for Washington Wine Institute or Washington Winegrowers members, $40 for non-members

Join the Washington Wine Institute and Washington Winegrowers Association for the WSLCB and TTB webinar for WA Wineries. The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 17th, from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM.

The Washington Wine Institute and Washington Winegrowers are partnering to make both Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulatory experts accessible to you. This webinar will break down top compliance issues with the goal of making lawful operations easier to understand and implement!  We’ll also review beneficial policies each agency has recently implemented.  And, you can submit your anonymous questions in advance!  Submit your questions at time of registration or send them to josh@wwi.wine or sara@wawinegrowers.org.

Registration Details
Members of WWI or Winegrowers: FREE
Non-Members: $40

REGISTER HERE

Speakers and Topics

  1. Director of Licensing Rebecca Smith, Director of Enforcement Chandra Brady, Customer Service Manager Beth Lehman, and Policy and Rules Coordinator Audrey Vasek will join us to review the impacts of 2021 legislative session, new licenses, permits, and endorsements, new rules in effect, COVID guidance, and common enforcement issues
  2. Erin Hogarty, TTB Investigator, will cover include common compliance issues relating to product integrity investigations, taxes, and labeling. She will also discuss key provisions of the Craft Beverage Modernization Tax Reform Act, which are now permanent.

If you are a Winegrowers member, please login with your membership credentials.

If you are a Washington Wine Institute member, please contact Josh McDonald, josh@wwi.wine, directly for your promo code. If you are not a Washington Wine Institute member and would like to sign up, doing so is easy and can be done by clicking here!

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant

Only 3 days left to apply!  Money is still available.  Deadline to apply is Monday April 26th at 5pm!

Don’t wait apply today!

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

APPLY HERE

 

The WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) COVD Relief and Recovery grant application portal is now live for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is open now and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds). All applications submitted between April 9 and April 26 will be considered.

Eligibility

To learn the eligibility requirements and begin the process of applying, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page.

The WA Wine Institute is available to you to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

 

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

 

Stay Safe

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant For Craft Beverage Producers

Apply Now through April 26th!

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

APPLY HERE

The WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) COVD Relief and Recovery grant application portal is now live for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is open now and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds). All applications submitted between April 9 and April 26 will be considered.

Eligibility

To learn the eligibility requirements and begin the process of applying, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page.

The WA Wine Institute is available to you to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

Stay Safe

Relief and Recovery Grants are available from WSDA

Relief and Recovery Grants are available from WSDA for:

  1. Shellfish growers
  2. Farmers Market Organizations
  3. Agritourism Farms
  4. Small Breweries, Wineries, Cideries, and Distilleries

Applications open April 9 and close April 26.  It’s quick – don’t miss it!

Learn more about these grants and whether you qualify on the WSDA Relief and Recovery grants webpage.

The nearly $15 million in grants are available through a partnership between WSDA and the Washington State Department of Commerce with the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

WSDA has contracted with partners in each sector who are available to answer questions and assist those seeking the grants. The contact information is available under the “Questions” section on the webpage.

Washington State Department of Agriculture |  PO Box 42560  |  Olympia, WA 98504-2560

 

WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants For Craft Beverage Producers Coming Soon

Grant Opportunity for Wineries/Cideries/Mead

Grants through the WA State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) will soon be available for wineries/cideries/mead operations! WSDA is partnering with the WA State Department of Commerce to provide Relief and Recovery Grants for agriculture businesses that have been underserved by earlier COVID-19 financial relief programs.

Background

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants will provide support to small businesses and organizations in four sectors, including small craft beverage producers, that play an important role in the economic viability of Washington agriculture and have been economically impacted due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy.

Application Timeline & Grant Amounts

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application portal is expected to open on April 9th and expected to close on April 26th. Grant awards and payments will be made by the end of May.

Grant amounts will be in a set amount of approximately $15,000 (WSDA reserves the right to adjust grant amounts based on available funds).

Eligibility

To be eligible, businesses must:

  1. Be licensed to do business in Washington
  2. Have been in operation prior to April 1, 2020
  3. Attest to gross annual revenues of between $15,000 and $5 million
  4. Hold a Microbrewery, Domestic Brewery, Domestic Winery (includes cideries), Craft Distillery, or Distillers license issued by the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board
  5. Operate from a physical brick and mortar location in Washington State
  6. Normally generate at least 33% its gross annual revenue from in-person sales in its own establishment and/or through distribution to other on-premise retailers
  7. Attest to decreased revenue and/or additional costs incurred in 2020 (negative financial impact) resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency

For more information, visit the WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants page, which will be updated as more info becomes available.

Working Washington Round 4 Grants

Important note: your business may be eligible for both the Department of Commerce’s Working Washington Round 4 grant and the WSDA Relief and Recovery grant. However, your business can only accept one of the two grants and may not receive funding from both programs. Here are some factors to consider when looking at both grants:

  1. Working Washington Round 4 Grants are capped at $25,000. If you received funding through an earlier round of Working Washington grants (through the Department of Commerce) that amount will be deducted from any Round 4 any funding received
  2. Working Washington Round 4 Grants must be equitably distributed statewide and to historically underserved and disadvantaged populations. Minority and women owned businesses and businesses located in rural and low income areas will be prioritized for this funding

While you may apply for both grants, your business can only receive one. The Working Washington Round 4 Grants application portal is open now through April 9th at 5pm. If you are unsure which grant will better serve your business, we encourage you to apply for both.

The WA Wine Institute is here to help! We are working on behalf of the WSDA to provide education and assistance to grant applicants. Please reach out to us with any questions you have about either grant programs or if you need assistance with your WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant application.

Contacts:

Josh McDonald

josh@wwi.wine

CT Moen

ct@wwi.wine

COVID-19 State Small Business Assistance Grants

Two Grant Opportunities for WA Small Wineries

Washington wineries will soon have an option between two small business grant opportunities available through the State’s on-going effort to provide assistance to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Wineries may be eligible for a grant through the WA Department of Commerce’s “Working Washington” small business grant program OR through upcoming grants that will be made available through the WA Department of Agriculture, targeted at the WA small craft beverage producer sectors.

The portal for Working Washington grant applications is now open and the grant application portal for the Department of Ag small craft beverage producer grants will open in the next two weeks. While wineries may meet eligibility requirements for both grant programs, businesses may receive only one of the two grant types available.

Over the next couple weeks, WWI will be providing information and assistance to help you determine which grant might better serve your business.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read through the eligibility and application requirements for the “Working Washington” grants found here. The Working Washington grant application portal (via the Department of Commerce) will close on April 9th. All applications received within that open period will be considered.

The Department of Ag COVID-19 Recovery Grant website will be updated with eligibility criteria and application requirements for winery, cidery, brewery, and distillery businesses soon.

We truly appreciate the Legislature’s and the Governor’s allocations of funding for small business grants through the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture; and the State’s recognition that craft beverage producers contribute to the health and diversity of the Washington state economy by providing support to disproportionately impacted and previously underserved agricultural sectors, through these new grants for small craft beverage producers.

Please keep an eye out for more info, coming soon!