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 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.
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.