Washington restaurants will be required to keep logs of customers for contact tracing

May 12, 2020, 8:10 AM | Updated: 10:27 am
coronavirus, restaurants, hospitality...
The Veggie Grill restaurant in Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

New guidelines released by Gov. Jay Inslee will require restaurants resuming dine-in service in Phase 2  to compile a daily log of all customers that keeps track of phone numbers and emails.

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The daily log must retain customer contact information for at least 30 days, with the goal to “facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur” should positive COVID-19 cases be found at restaurants.

This is similar to South Korea’s measures for reopening their nightlife industry. After a recent outbreak at several nightclubs, South Korea’s city of Itaewon compiled a list of almost 11,000 people who had attended those venues using mobile phone data, and sent them text messages asking that they get tested.

Washington restaurants will also be asked to adhere to a handful of other requirements, including:

  • Providing hand sanitizer at entrances for customers and staff, “assuming supply availability”
  • No bar seating
  • No parties and/or tables with more than five guests
  • Keeping occupancy at 50% or lower; outdoor seating must also be at 50% capacity, but will not count toward the indoor occupancy limit
  • Keeping tables at least six feet away from each other; for booths, there must be a physical barrier or a wall separating them
  • Customers are “strongly” encouraged to wear cloth face coverings while not seated at tables
  • No buffets or salad bars
  • Having all menus be single-use
  • Having all condiments either be in single-use containers, or sanitized after each use
  • Employing proper physical distancing in waiting areas and payment counters
  • Minimizing the number of staff serving any given table

Restaurant workers will also be required to wear cloth facial coverings at all times, remain six feet away from customers when possible, frequently wash their hands, and sanitize maintenance supplies.

How restaurants are trying to stay afloat during crisis

The return of dine-in service at restaurants is part of Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s plan to gradually reopen Washington. At least eight counties recently received approval to move into that phase early, including Columbia, Garfield, Lincoln, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Wahkiakum, and Skamania counties.

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Washington restaurants will be required to keep logs of customers for contact tracing