On July 24, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced changes to the “Safe Start,” Washington’s phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.

This message is intended to provide general guidance for restaurants and other on-premises liquor-licensed businesses that will be impacted by the Governor’s July 24 restrictions.

The governor’s order impacts all on-premises licensees with added restrictions to hours of service, table size allowances, and overall occupancy allowances. In addition distilleries, wineries, breweries and taverns have further restrictions. The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is acting now to help these licensees modify service at their license locations so they may have outside service and to-go sales as other license types are able to do.

Restrictions Effective July 30, 2020

The governor’s order impacts all on-premises licensees with added restrictions to hours of service, table size allowances, and overall occupancy allowances.

Restaurant guidance will now require parties to be members of the same household in order to dine indoors.

Outdoor dining and take-away remains available for small parties from different households.

Table size for dine-in in Phase 3 will be reduced to five individuals and occupancy reduced from 75% to 50%.

Alcohol service must end by 10 p.m.

Restaurants must also close gaming and social areas, such as pool tables, dart boards and video games.

Distilleries, Wineries, Breweries and Taverns
Additional restrictions are effective July 30 that are specific to: distilleries, wineries, breweries and taverns.

These licensees are restricted to outdoor seating only. Indoor service and/or consumption of alcohol is prohibited while the restrictions are place.

Taverns will be closed for indoor service, but can continue outdoor service.

LCB Actions to Help Licensees
The LCB is acting now to allow distilleries, wineries, breweries and taverns modify service at their license locations. If you have this license type, LCB staff are at the ready to help you convert to a Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant so that you may enjoy privileges of that license type.

1.) Converting a Tavern, Brewery, Winery, Winery Tasting Room, or Distillery License to a Spirits/Beer/Wine or Beer/Wine Restaurant License:

  • When converting to a Spirits/Beer/Wine (S/B/W) Restaurant License or Beer/Wine (B/W) Restaurant License, the licensee must submit an email toretailliquorlicensing@lcb.wa.gov. Please indicate on the subject line of your email that you are requesting to convert your business to a S/B/W Restaurant or B/W Restaurant, as applicable.
  • The licensee will be assigned to a licensing specialist that will request the following documents:
  • Menus – For an S/B/W Restaurant License, all menus are required to meet the food standards contained in WAC 314-02-035. For a B/W Restaurant License, all menus must meet the minimum food service requirements as defined at WAC 314-02-010(14).
  • Floor plans – Required for S/B/W and B/W Restaurant License applicants if they plan to serve persons of all ages. Floor plans are not required for S/B/W and B/W Restaurant License applicants if they plan to serve only persons over the age of 21.
  • To be approved, the applicant must meet all the requirements for an S/B/W Restaurant License or a B/W Restaurant License. For more information about these requirements, please see the WSLCB’s Retail Fee and Description Sheet.
  • If approved, you will receive an approval letter confirming the changes via email.

2.) For information about how licensees can add or extend outside liquor service, please see the following guidance from June 11, 2020.

Current Allowances for Licensees
Since the initial Stay Home, Stay Healthy order issued in March, the LCB has been working to help licensees continue to do business safely by granting temporary allowances to license types. The LCB maintains a COVID-19 Information for Licensees that spells out clearly the allowances for alcohol and cannabis licensees while the restrictions are in place. The LCB will continue to modify this page as this change.

Lastly, we recognize the toll these restrictions are having on your business. The LCB is committed to doing everything we can that is consistent with our mission to help during these challenging times.