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King and Pierce County Public Health Departments Allows Some Fee Extensions for Retail Food Establishments

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To support our businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, your government affairs team requested several health departments defer some financial penalties and permit suspensions related to food permits for retail businesses. Here are the changes we secured:

Seattle and King County Public Health have extended food establishment renewal fees until May 31 and are also providing prorated fees for new establishments and refunds for canceled temporary food service events. Specifically:

1. Through May 31, 2020, you will not be charged a late fee for annual food establishment permit renewals.  You can submit your annual permit application on or before May 31 without incurring any late fees. Renewed permits will remain valid through March 31, 2021.

2. New food service establishments that open during this year will be charged a quarterly

prorated fee for annual permits.  If you are applying for a new food establishment operating permit, you will be charged an annual permit fee on a prorated basis, as follows:

  • Businesses opening between June 30 and September 30, 2020: 75 percent of the applicable annual permit fee.
  • Businesses opening between September 30 and December 31, 2020: 50 percent of the applicable annual permit fee.
  • Businesses opening after December 31, 2020: 25 percent of the applicable annual permit fee.

Seattle King County Public Health will not be prorating the annual permit fee for existing food establishments. However, as noted under Number 1 above, no late fees will be charged for permit renewal payments received on or before May 31, 2020.

3.  Permit fees will be refunded for cancelled temporary food service events.

If your event has been canceled in order to comply with the Governor’s Proclamation and Local Health Officer order, your permit fee will be refunded. This applies to temporary, farmers’ market, and seasonal food establishment permits.

If you are a food business owner or a food worker and have questions related to your operation, please reach out to your Seattle Health Investigator or call 206‐263‐9566 to speak with office staff. For the latest information, please visit: www.kingcounty.gov/covid.

Meanwhile, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has deferred all financial penalties and permit suspensions on:

  1. Unpaid food establishment permit renewals
  2. Other outstanding account balances

This will allow for a longer grace period during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Tacoma Pierce County has not identified a specific end date for this deferment but will communicate to our food establishments in advance when a date is determined.