Reopening in Phase 2
Snohomish County has been working hard to enter Phase 2. We know you are anxious for information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and its effect on restaurant closures in Snohomish County. Information regarding COVID-19 changes rapidly as the virus becomes more understood, and many policy decisions are made at the state level.
Our Health Officer, Dr. Spitters, released this statement to the media last week:
“Things are moving in the right direction, and we believe that we currently have the infrastructure, plans and partnerships in place to enter into Phase 2 with reasonable confidence that we can continue to suppress transmission of the virus. It is important to caution that whenever Snohomish County is approved to move to Phase 2, this does not signal a green light to resume all “normal activities.” We are still relying on residents and businesses to follow the guidelines for social distancing, face covering and limitations on activity to prevent an abrupt resurgence in cases, stay in Phase 2, and hopefully continue to progress forward safely.”
The Snohomish Health District sent a letter to operators about the requirements for the phased approach for reopening onsite dining. That letter and resources can be found on our website. http://www.snohd.org/CivicSend/ViewMessage/message/114333. The State Department of Health has also created a list to help prepare for reopening or resuming onsite dining in Phase 2. They will provide more details as they develop specific guidance, but they encourage you to begin planning now. The following suggestions are for planning purposes only as they may not all be required in your area:
Equipment & Physical Structure
Food establishments that closed kitchen or dining areas should consider the following things when reopening:
- Make sure utilities are working.
- Flush water and all plumbed food equipment following statewide guidelines that will be made available in the near future.
- Assess and discard food that is no longer safe.
- Check that all equipment is functioning properly and maintaining proper temperatures.
- Wash, rinse, and sanitize all food contact surfaces.
- Clean and sanitize dining area.
Employee Health & Safety
There will likely be additional employee health monitoring and protection measures required even if the governor releases the order. Consider how your business could implement the following:
- Screen employees for symptoms of COVID-19, to include presence of fever.
- Train workers on symptoms of COVID-19 illness and on required hand hygiene.
- Ensure handwashing sinks are stocked and antimicrobial hand gel is available.
- Ensure 6 feet of distance between employees in both back and front of house.
- Requiring cloth facial coverings for employees, especially if they are unable to stay at least 6 feet from others.
- Stagger work schedules as much as possible to reduce employee contact with each other.
Customer ProtectionsAllowing on-premises dining will likely require additional changes to ensure customer safety. Be prepared in case any of the following are required:
- Post menu options or provide disposable menus.
- Clean and disinfect touchpoints frequently, including all surfaces at each table.
- Self-service food bars and self-service fountain drinks may still be restricted.
- Remove as many self-service condiment dispensers from tables or shared areas as possible.
- Disinfect condiment containers after each dining group.
- Ensure dining groups are seated at least 6 feet apart and remove or block extra seating.
- Use reservations or other metering system to ensure establishment operates at no more than 50% capacity.
- Utilize contactless payment systems, automated ordering and mobile pay or provide handwashing or hand gel for employees handling payment.
- Disinfect all touchpads after each use.
The Snohomish Health District strives to communicate often so that you have the information you need to run your business. Information for food operators can be found on our website at www.snohd.org/492/COVID-19-Info-for-BusinessesEmployers, and we also encourage you to follow the Health District on Facebook for up-to-date press releases and blog posts.