• Jacque Coe

Coronavirus Updates & Guidance for Restaurants

Updated: 2 hours ago

June 19, King County moves into Phase 2. For reopening resources, click here.

May 22, Public Health Seattle & King County announced more locations for testing for those with COVID-19 symptoms available at no cost. To see the locations, click here.

On May 11, Washington state issued official requirements for reopening of restaurants and taverns in Phase II. To see the requirements, click here.

On May 11, Seattle King County Public Heath issued a directive to King County residents to wear face cloth coverings in most public settings, effective May 18. See details on the directive here.

On May 1, Gov. Jay Inslee extended the 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' order to May 31. In doing so, the governor also announced his approach to reopen businesses in four phases and modify social distancing measures. In the approach, the state is currently in Phase I, with restaurant dine-in businesses in a phased reopening starting in Phase II. Here are the four phases of the governor's plan:

Phase 1: Restaurants provide take-out and delivery only.

Phase 2: Restaurants will be able to open at 50 percent business capacity with up to five guests per party and gatherings of five people and fewer will be permitted.

Phase 3: Gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted, nonessential travel can resume, restaurants can be open at 75 percent capacity with parties of 10 or fewer and bars can be open at 25 percent capacity.

Phase 4: Night clubs, concert venues and sporting events can resume.


See the governor's press conference here, and see the four-phase chart here.

See the governor's risk assessment dashboard of health metrics here.


On March 16, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all restaurants, bars and entertainment or recreational facilities are ordered closed. The closures are in effect until March 31, with the option of extending them. The closure includes:

  • Restaurants

  • Food courts

  • Hotel gyms/exercise rooms

  • Bars and taverns

  • Wine, beer and spirits tasting venues

  • Doughnut shops and ice cream parlors

  • Coffee shops

  • Sit-down restaurants and bars

Take-out, drive-thru and delivery orders will be available for customers.

Read the governor’s complete statement here. Watch the Governor’s press conference here.


Seattle King County Public Health issued a local health order with these measures:

  • All events with more than 50 people are prohibited until further notice

  • All events with fewer than 50 people are discouraged and prohibited unless organizers observe COVID-19 prevention measure.

  • All bars, dance clubs, fitness and health clubs, movie theaters, nightclubs, and other social and recreational establishments until at least March 31.

  • All restaurants and food service establishments cannot provide dining room service. They may remain open for drive-through, takeout and delivery.

  • All other retail – including banks, grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies – should and may remain open, provided they observe COVID-19 prevention measures.

Read the King County Local Health Order here regarding gatherings over 50 people.


Specific to restaurants and grocery stores:

Food has not been identified as a likely source of COVID-19 at this time; however, food businesses can play an important role in both protecting their employees and their customers from COVID-19 by following the routine food establishment personal and environmental hygiene practices identified below:

Strengthen health screening of staff and onsite contractors for COVID-19 symptoms.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds upon first arriving to work, after using the restroom, before and after eating and frequently throughout the day. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Provide alcohol based (60%) hand sanitizers or similar cleaners for use for both employees and customers by placing them at convenient/accessible locations.

• Use sanitizing solution (i.e., one teaspoon of unscented household bleach in a gallon of cool water, there is no need to change the ratio of bleach to water to kill the coronavirus. If in doubt, please follow the instructions on the bottle) to frequently sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects such as cash machine key pads, counter tops, dining tables door knobs, electronics, faucet handles, and menus frequently throughout the day. Change the chlorine-based sanitizing solution at least once every four hours.

Ensure dishwasher and/or three-compartment sinks are used properly and have the appropriate level of sanitizer for final rinse (50-100 PPM chlorine-based sanitizer, follow product label for other approved sanitizers).

Ensure sneeze guards are in place where required.


If you have food employees at higher risk for COVID-19 with underlying health conditions, such as people 60 or older, people with underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) or those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant: consider temporarily re-assigning them to non-public-contact duties.


For more information, visit the retail guidance section of Seattle King County Public Health

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