COVID-19 rollbacks to rules for restaurants, bars and more now in effect

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Many of the rollbacks Gov. Inslee announced last week to the state’s “Safe Start” plan concerning restaurants, bars, weddings, funerals family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms went into effect Thursday.

“I care about businesses opening and people getting back to work, but public health and economic activity go hand in hand,” Inslee said when he announced the rollbacks last week. “The rate of transmission has been increasing around the state.”

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Inslee said the state does not want to be in the position Florida is in and highlighted a spike in transmission among people in their 20s that is spreading to all age groups in the state.

Inslee said the following changes have been made to help limit activities where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 could be the highest:

Restaurants and bars

Inslee said indoor dining will be limited to members of the same household.

“Put simply, if you’re looking for a seat with people you don’t share a home with, sit outside,” Inslee said. “If you’re there with people who are in your household, you’ll be allowed to sit indoors. We are taking this step because we believe it reduces the potential for exposure and transmission in dine-in settings.”

Restaurants and bars are also required to close down vending game areas like pool tables, darts and video games until phase 4.

For restaurants and bars that are in phase 3 counties, table size will be reduced to five and occupancy to 50% indoors.

Inslee said alcohol service at restaurants must end at 10 p.m. and bars will be closed for indoor service. The governor defined bars as taverns, breweries, wineries and distilleries, regardless of their ability to provide food service.

The changes went into effect Thursday.

Additional rollbacks

Inslee also announced that indoor family and recreation centers like mini golf, bowling alleys and arcades are prohibited from being open. Indoor card rooms are also prohibited from being open.

Inslee also said indoor movie theater occupancy will be limited to 25% in phase 3.

The changes went into effect Thursday.

Weddings and Funerals

Ceremonies are permitted, but receptions are prohibited. Inslee said they must continue to adhere to all other parts of the current guidance.

Inslee said that for all phases, the maximum indoor occupancy for these events is 20%, or up to 30 people, whichever is less, as long as there can be six feet of distance between households.

The changes will go into effect Aug. 6.

“We do not take these steps lightly,” Inslee said. “We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners. But we know that if we fail to act, we will expose thousands of people.”