A: Effective July 30, wineries and tasting rooms in most counties are permitted to operate at 50% indoor capacity if they offer food service. This does not require a restaurant license. You can find the updated guidance by clicking here. Yakima, Benton & Franklin counties are not included in this, but can allow outdoor service at 50% capacity.
Q: Our county is in Phase 3 - are winery tasting rooms able to do indoor service at 50% or is all service required to be outdoors?
A: The new restrictions are the same for phase 2 and phase 3 impacted businesses. See above.
Q: What do we need to do to show that each group is from the same household for indoor dining?
A: If you are a winery with a restaurant license, you will need to ask your customers if they are from the same household before seating them indoors.
Q: Are guests still allowed in the tasting room to complete to-go transactions once the new guidelines take effect on July 30th?
A: Yes, customers can continue to place orders and pay at the counter/bar as long as physically distanced. The LCB has confirmed that all to-go sales are still allowed as they have been since March.
Q: Can outdoor tasters go inside to use the restroom?
A: The LCB has confirmed, yes. Also, the health department requires access to a bathroom.
Q: Will indoor services include non-dining or tasting customer traffic passage to/from and use of restroom facilities, payment at registers, and picking up of orders as of new July 30th restriction?
A: Customers can continue to place orders and pay at the counter/bar as long as physically distanced. Any bar area seating is prohibited at this time. The LCB has confirmed that all to-go sales are still allowed as they have been since March. This includes use of restroom facilities. What the state is now saying is no to drinking/tasting wine indoors if you are not licensed as a restaurant.
Q: What is the definition of "service"? Can customers enter our facility, and be greeted and checked-in before being seated outdoors?
A: In the new guidance as of July 30th, nothing suggests that you can't do what you are asking. If all you are doing is walking them in a socially distanced responsible manner to your outdoor area for wine tasting/consumption that is allowed. The same goes for restroom access. All publicly open establishments in the food/beverage industry must provide a restroom to customers via our food code.
Q: Is there a timeline for this rollback? Or was it presented open ended? Trying to figure out if we need to purchase outdoor tables and chairs for the next 3 months or if it's currently just a 3 week-1 month projection. I fully understand that if there's a timeline, it could be easily pushed back as well.
A: Currently, there is no timeline for removing the restrictions announced impacting wineries and others. We all need the COVID infection rates to start dropping and stay in decline for at least two weeks before we can reasonably expect some changes. We recommend planning to utilize outdoor space and extending it via the LCB alteration process to the extent possible and prepare to be open this way for the forceable future. Also, now that we have successfully secured indoor service options if a limited amount of food is prepared onsite and offered with our without a restaurant license, this may be a long-term option for you until we get to Phase IV.
Q: Were there any changes to Farmers Markets procedures in the new guidelines that take effect on July 30th?
A: We are not aware of anything in the Governor's orders regarding changes to Farmers Markets and how it works for wineries. So whatever guidelines you are following currently for these situations should remain in place.
Q: How is it possible to keep six feet distance while collecting and processing a customer payment?
A: The Governor’s office recognizes there will be times when six feet of separation is not possible or at least very challenging, such as when a customer needs to pay for their purchase. First, if possible not accepting cash or checks is encouraged. Second, think through how to creatively approach the payment process for customers to minimize (if not eliminate) the need for situations where the six feet separation cannot be maintained.
Q: Is it true that we will NOT be required to screen guests/visitors to our tasting rooms in advance. Rather, they will sign an attestation?
A: According to a Washington State Department of Health representative on a recent webinar hosted by the Washington Hospitality Association, businesses opening in Phase 2 will not be required to screen guests or employees in advance of entering your winery. There is also no requirement to have customers sign an attestation, so this will be decision by each individual winery preparing to open.
Q: Is a winery required to log every person in the daily log, or is one representative per group sufficient?
A: UPDATED: A May 15th press release from Governor Inslee modified this Phase 2 rule to be a voluntary collection of customer’s information vs. required. The only requirement will be for a winery to have a customer sign in option available if he/she voluntary chooses to provide name and contact information.
Q: Is it ok to keep the customer information in our POS or Reservation System, or do we need to keep a separate file?
A: This is likely fine, as long as you have both name and some form of contact information. Please see previous question for recent changes to the Phase 2 rule.
Q: Do we need to have WSLCB approval for temporary alterations of our space?
- For outdoor areas that do not change the size of the physical space (ex; moving chairs and tables), temporary alterations to the space will not need to be approved by the LCB until Phase 4.
- For outdoor spaces that will change the size of the physical space, changes will need to be requested by the licensee to the LCB. Form here.
- The LCB may allow extensions to the outdoor space as long as:
- the licensee has leasehold authority of the space;
- it does not extend on a commercial area,
- and the 42’’ barrier requirement does not need to be permanent but does need to meet the height requirement.
- Wineries are allowed a picnic area contiguous to the winery for outdoor space as long as it meets all the requirements of what LCB requires for an outdoor space.
Q: Will there possibly be a fee waiver to do outdoor seating in our parking lot area, normally requiring a liquor license?
A: According to the LCB’s current alterations forms, there does not appear to be a fee for requesting an alteration to your licensed premise. Please see previous answer for details on temporary allowances for outdoor seating changes that do and do not change the physical space of that licensed area.
Q: Can a winery set up curbside pickup at a different location than their licensed facility (i.e. if a winery is located in Yakima, can they set up curbside pickup in Seattle for a weekend)?
A: The special wine permit might be able to be used to set up a temporary space off your winery premise where you can do wine pickup and sales. Keep in mind that this permit, like all permits, is for private-only events, so you may not advertise the event to the public or allow anyone not on a pre-determined invite list (and a plus 1) to participate in the event. Due to our unprecedented times, we suggest contacting the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s licensing division and talking through what can/can’t be done at this time.