Q: Current movement of counties from phase 1 to phase 2 only apply to counties with less than 75,000 residents. How often and when will the State government review at the 75,000 resident rule?
A: 5/19/2020 UPDATE: Governor Inslee announced several more counties are now eligible for moving into Phase 2 of reopening. This decision indicates the Governor is changing to a county-by-county approach to Phase 2 reopening.
Q: During Phase 2, is wine tasting permitted in my tasting room?
A: Yes, you can offer wine tastings in phase 2 as long as you adhere to all the social distancing requirements for both the customer and the employee. Consider getting creative with pre-poured samples and disposable wine tasting notes as the employee is not going to be allowed to stand next to a customer/customers and explain the wine in any real level of detail. Alternatively, consider starting by-appointment-only and creating an experience with groups of 5 or less where a 6 foot separation wine tasting experience between customer and employee is more manageable.
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: Are tables required as part of Phase 2, or can customers sit on couches or even stand to taste?
A: Tables are not required to offer on premise wine tasting/drinking. Instead of a table, a winery can designate spaces 6 feet apart from each other for person/persons/groups 5 and under to hangout. They just need to stay there while enjoying the wine and NO bar usage/congregating at the bar except to pick up and order or pay.
Q: Do we need to have WSLCB approval for temporary alterations of our space?
- For indoor areas, and minor-restricted areas, temporary alterations to the space will not need to be approved by the LCB until Phase 4.
- 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.