From Lucy Garcia, Kittitas County Public Health Department Environmental Health Specialist II
Corporate Food Safety Partners: Governor’s Proclamation to limit dining in food establishments
We recognize that this is a stressful time for everyone. Highlighted below are some common questions we have received regarding the Governor’s Proclamation:
On March 16, 2020 Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-13 Statewide Limits: Food and Beverage Services, Areas of Congregation. The proclamation temporarily prohibits onsite dining at most food establishments in Washington state to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The ban does not apply to child care or school-based food programs or grocery stores. Restaurants can still provide take-out, delivery, or drive-through food and beverage services. Unless extended, the ban remains in effect until midnight on March 31, 2020.
Restaurants must close dining areas. Restaurants may provide take-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage services. We encourage food establishments that provide take-out service to stack tables and chairs in the dining area to give community members space and indicate the dining area is not in service.
Restaurants that want to modify their menus or style of service to provide take-out, delivery, or drive-through options are encouraged to work with their local health department to ensure safe processes.
Restaurants that close or are unable to use perishable food supplies are encouraged to donate food to hunger relief organizations using food safety recommendations in our food rescue donation guide.
Under the proclamation, grocery and convenience stores are allowed to remain open, but any on-site dining areas must close. For example, the espresso counter in a grocery store can remain open and provide beverages to go, but the seating area (table and chairs) must be closed. We recommend food establishments stack their tables and chairs to discourage customer use.
The governor proclamation also prohibits the onsite consumption of food and beverages at public venues. Public areas that provide seating for food consumption are encouraged to close the areas to discourage use.
Bars, Taverns, Wineries, and Breweries
Facilities serving alcohol will need to switch to retail of packaged products only, with no on-premises consumption. Operators are encouraged to contact the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to understand retail options
Preventing Customers from Congregating
We recommend the use of call-in/mobile ordering and delivery/car pickup to prevent the congregation of customers awaiting orders.
- Practice social distancing.
- Consider implementing changes to the workplace such as maximizing telecommuting options for as many employees as possible, and implementing social distancing in the workplace within reason.
- Make considerations for public transit such as additional cleaning and sanitizing.
If you have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please contact the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at 509-933-8315. We are asking the public to call the EOC. Our front desk staff will continue to provide required Kittitas County Public Health Department services — all COVID-19 concerns will only be handled in the EOC.
Lucy Garcia, Environmental Health Specialist II