‘restaurant owners will be required to affirm that they…will comply with the state’s new restrictions…’
But whether restaurants can afford to abide them is another question.
Under Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan to reopen the state, restaurants will have to comply with 13 strict requirements for dine-in services, including a maximum of 50 percent capacity and no more than five patrons per table.
They must also agree to help state officials track visiting diners by “creat[ing] a daily log of customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in.”
The mandate is necessary to tract COVID cases, according to Gov. Inslee. But the extraordinary measure raises serious civil liberties concerns.
Andrew Schpak, an employment litigation lawyer in neighboring Portland, said the customer information collection program is bad enough, but it would actually provide the government with a list of all places each person has visited.
“It’s similar to ideas of gun background checks: Why does the government have the right to know who I am or where I was?” said Schpak.
Other provisions include mandatory hand sanitizer for employees and customers, placing restaurant tables far enough apart for all guests to maintain 6-feet of social distance, and single-use menus and condiments.
Buffets, salad bars and bar seating are strictly prohibited, and it’s “strongly suggested” that customers and employees cover their faces with masks or other cloth coverings — which will prove awkward when eating.
In addition, restaurants are required to screen employees for Wuhan virus symptoms at the beginning of every shift.
Employers must also designate a coronavirus supervisor to monitor employees, report symptoms to health regulators and enforce Inslee’s restaurant guidelines.
The requirements further stipulate that all restaurant owners will be required to affirm that they can and will comply with the state’s new restrictions before they will be granted permission to resume business.