• Jacque Coe

King County SSTAR Program Reports Strong Overall Industry Compliance, But With Work To Do

A month into a new education program, Public Health – Seattle King County is reporting a strong overall compliance effort by restaurant operators in adhering to state guidelines. In early August, the county launched the Safe Start for Taverns and Restaurants (SSTAR) program. The SSTAR program consists of unannounced spot checks by county inspectors of permitted food establishments in nine key areas of compliance during the pandemic. The nine areas cover specific coronavirus restrictions such as no bar seating, cloth face masks, employee health checks, etc.

In the spot checks of businesses, removing bar and counter service, adjusting to the correct seating capacity, and measures to control customer social distancing were the top area of compliance. The lowest areas of compliance were instituting a customer contract tracing system, employee health screenings and employee face coverings. Once the SSTAR team conducts a spot check of a business, they share and discuss the results immediately with the restaurant and make recommendations to support compliance. The spot checks do not affect a business’s food rating, and results of the checks will not be posted.

The county has heard feedback from operators that they appreciate the additional support. To get an overview of the SSTAR program, watch this webinar.