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See comprehensive list of all specific criteria required to comply with Phase 2 Reopening Guidelines from the Washington State Dept. of Health.

Phase 2 guidance applies to all King County businesses. The guidance does neither require reopening, nor does it restrict hours of operation. Reopening does not require submission of a written plan.  Operators simply need to have a written plan, as described in the above linked document.

What is allowed and not allowed

Bar style seating and counter service are not allowed in Phase 2. Table seating is allowed in bar areas.

Yes. Food trucks deliver food and have no seating. They are required to maintain customer physical distancing. They are not required to obtain contact information, since they do not provide seating.

Yes. Self-service salad bars and buffets are now allowed, with the following restrictions:

  • Physical distancing of 6 feet between customers, with floor markings
  • Hourly utensil change out, or wash/rinse/sanitize
  • Hourly cleaning and sanitizing of other common touch points
  • Staff monitoring to ensure these requirements are met
  • Sneeze guard type cover
  • Provide hand sanitizer for customers at beginning AND at end of the salad bar/buffet
  • Signage as a reminder of physical distancing, face coverings, hand sanitizer use, staying home with symptoms, no reuse of utensils or plates.
  • Caterers – when catering for approved events, need to follow these same guidelines.

Yes, as long as cups, lids, and wrapped straws are handed to customers by restaurant staff. Fountain machines should be sanitized hourly. Refills of single service cups are not allowed. Customers must request a new cup for refills.

Yes, reusable menus are now allowed with sanitizing between uses.

Traditional catering is not allowed, with the exception of gatherings that are allowed per current guidance (for example, weddings and funerals). Please contact your inspector for guidance. All Phase 2 guidance must be followed.

Yes. Workers handling money must wash hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.

No. All aspects of the Washington State Food Code still apply.

Managing physical facilities and equipment

Yes. Smooth, rigid, impermeable barriers designed to shield others from coughs or sneezes can be used as a barrier where other distancing measures are not possible. We recommend a barrier height of 6.5 feet between adjacent tables. If you are able to install proper barriers, you can keep the regular seating of tables next to each other.

Restroom stalls have a barrier present between stalls. Each situation would need to be evaluated separately. If people are unable to maintain 6 feet distance while in restroom, then yes, allowing only one customer at a time would be required. 6-feet distancing is also required for anyone waiting in line.

No. However, this is helpful when customers stand in a line.

No. However, individually wrapped straws are highly recommended.

Yes. Dining surfaces and any condiment containers typically left on the table (ketchup, soy sauce, etc.) must be single-use or sanitized after each use. Disinfection of common touch points, such as doorknobs is also required. Restrooms need frequent cleaning and disinfection.

Management responsibilities

Food service operators are already required to actively monitor their employees for symptoms of foodborne illness. Under the Governo's Safe Start approach, monitoring for additional symptoms associated with COVID-19 are required. There is no requirement to take the temperature of an employee. Simply review the symptoms of COVID-19 with each staff member prior to work each day. If an employee is experiencing any symptoms, they need to go home. Further details can be found at Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Guidelines for restaurants and other food businesses.

This scenario does not necessarily determine exposure to restaurant staff. Refer to Public Health guidance for food workers.

This must be between the worker and the employer. Check with the Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries for their requirements.

No. There should be signage posted at the entrance advising customers to stay home if they are sick and to wear a face covering when they are not eating. Printable posters are available here. Posters are also available in other languages.

Every business is required to maintain a daily log of all guests that voluntarily provide contact information, including customer names, phone/email, and time/date they were in the facility. Maintain the log for 30 days to help with contact tracing. For more information see:

(Same answer as Question #22):

Every business is required to maintain a daily log of all guests that voluntarily provide contact information, including customer names, phone/email, and time/date they were in the facility. Maintain the log for 30 days to help with contact tracing. For more information see:

No. Public Health is not aware of this type of certification.

Employee responsibilities

Yes, the King County Local Health Officer Directive on Cloth Face Coverings requires all individuals to wear a mask or face covering when maintaining 6-foot distance from others is not possible.

Employees are not required to wear gloves as part of the COVID-19 response.

Public responsibilities

Social distancing is required. Group activities are not permitted under Phase 2. Frequent cleaning and disinfection of common touch points is required.

No. Once food has been paid for and leaves the food service premises, it is outside regulation, the same as if it was taken out directly by the customer.

Mask or face covering use by customers is required under the Face Covering Directive, except for those who are unable to wear them, due to medical or other reasons. Customers can remove their face coverings while eating.


Safe Start emphasizes the use of educational outreach. It is presumed that citizens will comply out of respect for the health of others. If necessary, the Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries would be the enforcement authority.

If customers exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, they can be politely asked to stay home. Keep in mind that some people are unable to wear a face covering for medical or other reasons.You are now required to refuse entrance or service to customers who refuse to wear a face mask (with some exemptions – you are encouraged to offer other options such as curbside pickup, etc. in this situation).

Assistance with compliance

That is up to each regulatory agency. Public Health, Seattle & King County has extended the food service permit renewal date to July 15. Up until that date, there will be no late fees assessed. The 2020-2021 permit will still be due March 30, 2021.

Yes, but it must be effective; at least 60% alcohol by volume. Please see the FDA guidance document for making hand sanitizer.

Liability, insurance, and legal advice are business matters between business operators and providers of those services. This applies to utility services as well. We offer no assistance and make no recommendations in these matters.