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LCB webinar recap Q & A

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Liquor and Cannabis Board webinar Q & A recap from May 19

Justin Nordhorn, chief enforcement officer of the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board recently joined our members for a webinar to answer all of your questions as we re-open our industry in many counties. We’ve put together a recap of important questions and answers.

Bar seating closed

Q: Are there any best practices the LCB recommends for closing bar seating?

A: Bar seating only includes the physical bar top. A dedicated dining area can be extended into a previously restricted area so tables in your bar area can be used by minors. To limit the access and availability, remove barstools, increase signage and do not allow patrons to congregate at the bar rail.

Q: If we continue to utilize bar seating, does the LCB have the authority to revoke your license?

A: Yes, the LCB has the authority to revoke a license if a licensee does not comply with the requirements. The officer will offer education before a violation.

Q: Does the use of the bar area change if it is being used for one party at a time, for example wineries that may be reservation only?

A: No, in Phase 2, the bar area is completely off-limits.

Q: Is there a difference between bar seating and counter seating?

A: The recommendation is to close all bar-like seating in order to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Floor plan modifications, temporary vs. permanent, indoor vs. outdoor

Q: What is the process if a licensee would like to temporarily change their floor plan?

A: The LCB is currently allowing temporary changes to a floor plan without formal approval of the board. This would allow previously restricted areas to become dedicated dining areas and allow minors to dine in these areas. All temporary modifications will be removed in Phase 4.

Q: What is the process to make a permanent change to a floor plan (indoor or outdoor)?

A: You can make floor-plan alterations here.

Q: Is there a difference when making changes to outdoor vs. indoor seating modifications?

A: For indoor seating, temporary changes do not need any approval. For outdoor seating, modifications will need to be reviewed if you plan to extend the area or if you do not currently have outdoor seating.

Q: My establishment currently only serves patrons 21 and older: do these temporary declassifications allow us to serve all ages?

A: No, the declassification only applies to restaurants with lounge spaces.

Q: Are there any limitations to utilizing production space for dining, for example repurposing a barrel room as a dining area?

A: If you are considering overall occupancy limitations, you could use production space as a dining area.

Q: If I do not currently have outdoor seating, what steps do I need to take to create or expand an outdoor space? Are picnic areas or parklets considered acceptable outdoor dining spaces?

A: First, contact your city to determine if your request will comply with their current outdoor dining regulations. Second, submit an alteration request to the LCB.

A few items to keep in mind when expanding outdoor space:

  • Is this space contiguous and adjacent to the establishment?
  • Do I have leaseholder rights to this space?
  • Exterior occupancy limits for decks, balconies etc.? Talk to your local jurisdiction to help determine occupancy.

 

Q: What 42-inch barrier requirements are needed for outdoor space?

A: You can find 42-inch barrier requirements here.

Temporary changes to enforcement (menu requirements, etc)

Q: Will the eight complete meal requirement be enforced during Phase 2 and Phase 3?

A: No, you must serve at least one complete meal as a Spirits, Beer & Wine licensee, but the eight full meal requirement will not be enforced.

Q: Can I alter my hours or days of service?

A: Yes, you will not need to be open five days a week or for a minimum of five hours a day.

Q: How long can we expect these temporary LCB policies to exist?

A: At least until the beginning of Phase 4.

Q: What should I expect if my establishment is visited by an LCB enforcement officer during this crisis?

A: The officer will offer education before corrective action.

What to-go options remain available?

Q: Currently, operators can sell beer, wine, spirits and cocktails to go, how long will this order be in effect?

A: Until Phase 4.

Q: Is there a path forward to make to-go sales on beer, wine and spirits permanent?

A: Spirits or cocktails to-go will require a legislative action. Growlers and bottles of wine to go are allowed under current rule and will be allowed with an additional endorsement to your license moving forward.

Q: Can we offer live entertainment during Phase 2?

A: There is a strong recommendation to discontinue any live entertainment during Phase 2. There are many variables as it pertains to live performances (larger crowds, close contact etc.). Live entertainment will be allowed in Phase 4.

Q: Are there any new curfews imposed in Phase 2?

A: No.

Q: What container options are available for to-go cocktails?

A: Examples can be found here, or you contact the LCB with other creative ideas.