WWI Working to Help Modernize Outdoor Seating Rules for Wineries

The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) submitted comments to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) recommending updates to outdoor seating allowances for wineries after SB 5448 was signed into law following the 2023 legislative session. WWI comments to the LCB, which is a part of the larger rulemaking effort taking place now to implement SB 5448, focuses on changes to WAC 314-03-205 that currently allows on-premise licensees to have access to demarcations instead of permanent barriers if seating is located in a public space. These include:

• Improvements and changes to the rules that will ensure all on premise licensees are clearly authorized to utilize more modern, barrier-free outdoor alcohol service.

• Simplifying the rules to allow for both privately and publicly owned spaces the use of demarcations instead of permanent barriers for outdoor service.

• Allowing for licensees to share outdoor areas with non-licensees, provided the non-licensee acknowledges they may be held equally responsible for any liquor law violations.

This rulemaking work is in the first phase of the LCB’s process, known as a CR 101, and we expect to work directly with their team on rule language up to the next step in the process (CR 102) when draft rule language is released for comment. We will keep our members informed on how this work is coming along and opportunities to provide comment on the draft rules when that window of time opens this fall.