Regulatory Issues

Active State Issues

Active Federal Issues

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

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.

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 announced Stay Home, Stay Healthy order until May 31.

Per the press conference, on May 1st, the governor announced a plan to reopen the state in four phases.  He stated it will be at least three weeks until we enter each new phase.  Phase one began on May 5th.

Please note that until your county moves into Phase 2, you must still adhere to the current restrictions below.

All wineries and tasting rooms must be closed for in-person tastings and events.

The following is permitted:

  1. NEW: Samples for virtual tastings. See these guidelines from California, which the WSLCB has also agreed to.
  2. Wine bottle/case sales to-go.
  3. Curbside pick-ups.
  4. Curbside sales.
  5. All deliveries, including direct from winery to customer.
  6. Winery production activities.
  7. Vineyard activities.
  8. Wholesale activities.
  9. Returns of alcohol from a business to a distributor.

LCB Licenses and Temporary Modifications for COVID-19

You can find a list and guidelines of the license renewals and temporary allowances listed below  here

Other Helpful Washington State Links

Washington State Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response 

Latest news and what you need to know about the coronovirus in Washington State.  Includes statistics, what to do if you are ill, state closures, essential businesses, etc.  That information can be located here 

Department of Revenue WA State 

The Dept of Revenue is taking several actions to provide relief to COVID-19 impacted businesses during the state of emergency . These actions address a broad range of taxes and programs: business and occupation tax, real estate excise tax assessments, leasehold excise tax, forest tax, and tax deferrals for biotechnology and medical device manufacturing. Find additional information on the actions taken by the Dept of Revenue here

Department of Labor and Industries

The Department of Labor and Industries has published a Paid Sick Leave FAQ.  L&I and ESD have worked together to establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQ. Combined, these FAQ address a range of possible scenarios that may unfold as workplaces resume operations.

Employment Security Department of WA State (ESD)

The ESD has provided information including answers to FAQs on their website  for employers and  workers.

If you do not find the answer to your question on the ESD website, please send your question directly regarding any UI or related items to Josh McDoanld at WWI – We have secured a direct contact with ESD to get answers for all Washington wine industry questions. ESD has requested our members use a point person with their association to try and help with the overwhelming amount of questions and requests they are getting right now. This approach will likely get your question(s) answered much faster!

TTB Updates and Guidance on COVID-19

TTB Announces Three Month Excise Tax Postponement

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recognizes that businesses that they regulate are being severely impacted by COVID-19. To assist these businesses during this period, they are postponing several filing and payment due dates for 90 days where the original due date falls on or after March 1, 2020, through July 1, 2020.

They are:

  1. Postponing tax payment due dates for wine, beer, distilled spirits, tobacco products, cigarette papers and tubes, firearms, and ammunition excise taxes.
  2. Postponing filing due dates for excise tax returns.
  3. Postponing filing due dates for submission of operational reports.
  4. Postponing filing due dates for claims for credit or refund by producers.
  5. Postponing filing due dates for claims by manufacturers of non-beverage products.
  6. Postponing due dates for submission of export documentation.
  7. Considering emergency variations from regulatory requirements for affected businesses on a case-by-case basis.
  8. Reviewing requests for relief from penalties based on reasonable cause.

To view the latest updates and guidance to help you and your business respond to the COVID-19 national emergency – Click here

Other Helpful Federal Links 

CARES Act: Covid-19 Stimulus Summary

On March 27th, the President signed into law the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (the CARES Act), the largest economic relief act in our country’s history.

WineAmerica has provided a basic summary of the CARES Act and benefits for the wine industry here

The US Travel Association has provided a list of relief resources through new or existing federal programs as a result of this legislation. You can find those specific programs here 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

An SBA Loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-10) crisis. Information on the program as well as how to apply can be found here

The US treasury also has published information on assistance for small businesses thru the paycheck protection program, you can access that information here

US Department of Labor

The US Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Wage and Hour posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective today, April 1, 2020. 

The US DOL will post a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020 to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help you learn more about the FFCRA.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD) invites webinar viewers to call the agency’s toll-free help line at 866-4US-WAGE to speak with trained WHD professional about any questions you may have. Please also check our COVID-19 response website often, as we continue to update the compliance assistance information available there. Similarly, signing up for the USDOL Key News Alerts  will ensure that you remain current with all notice requirements.

The Seattle District Office is also here locally to offer assistance to our stakeholders in the business, government and worker communities in Alaska, Washington and Northern Idaho at  206-398-8039.

Centers for Disease Control