New guidance for open-air seating options at breweries, bars, restaurants

beverige place pub beer garden.


More flexibility for outdoor, open-air seating opportunities

The Washington Brewers Guild continues to work with the Governor’s office and state agencies to help breweries and other establishments navigate the current COVID-related restrictions. They’ve been working with industry partners and state authorities to create updated guidance for “Open Air and Outdoor Seating Requirements” for eating and drinking establishments. (Picture above: Beveridge Place Pub beer garden, via social media.)

Perhaps the most important thing to note is the use of the term open-air and not just outdoor. For example, the new guidelines suggest that a room, like a taproom with a roll-up garage door, could be open at 25 percent occupancy.

“One, two, or three walls are permeable with multiple, fully-opened windows or bay doors.”

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There is a lot more to it than that and nobody should take my word as gospel. View the guidelines yourself here.

If you are a brewery, bar, or restaurant it would behoove you to understand the new guidelines. Here is today’s announcement from the Washington Brewers Guild about these latest updates.

IMPORTANT: New Guidance on Options for Open Air Dining and Outdoor Seating Requirements

January 12, 2021

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We have been working with the Governor’s office, Department of Health, Labor & Industries, Liquor & Cannabis Board, and other hospitality industry groups to develop updated guidance for “Open Air and Outdoor Seating Requirements” for eating and drinking establishments.

These guidelines are effective now and intended to provide alternatives to indoor dining. The updated document outlines four options for breweries and other eating and drinking establishments to offer customers an open air dining experience and applies to both permanent and temporary structures. Breweries may utilize any combination of these options, so long as each dining area is in compliance with the guidance.

We strongly recommend that you check with the LCB and/or your local health jurisdiction before making investments in renovations or changes to your space.

While the new guidelines largely do not impact outdoor tenting and other temporary structures that are currently in compliance, there may be some instances where operators need to make slight modifications to current tent set-ups. The most common adjustment would require the installation of a C02 monitor in a tent or structure where there are two open walls that are adjacent.

You can find the updated guidelines here. Pay careful attention to the diagrams. They will be extremely helpful as you plan your open-air spaces and will act as a guide for the approval and enforcement of these spaces.

We are working to put together a webinar soon to cover the guidelines with state agencies and answer questions. In the meantime, please submit any questions you have via this form and we will work to get answers for a FAQ sheet for all breweries.

While not perfect, we are very pleased to have more flexibility to offer safe, fresh air dining during the current indoor dining ban and appreciate the Governor’s office and state agencies taking our input into consideration as these guidelines were developed.



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