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New guidance: Buffets and salad bars now allowed; bar seating and live music is not

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Gov. Jay Inslee’s office on July 7 issued new clarifying guidance for restaurants and taverns, allowing self-serve salad bars and buffets to resume service in Phase 2 as long as they meet certain requirements.

In Phase 2 and beyond, all self-serve buffets, salad bars, salsa bars and other communal food and drink stations must:

  • Strictly adhere to all Phase 2 and Phase 3 restaurant requirements
  • Ensure customers use antimicrobial hand sanitizer before and after handling utensils
  • Install permanent barriers, such as sneeze guards, to protect food
  • Monitor the communal food and beverage area to make sure customers are following social distancing and other rules

These activities may resume immediately if businesses can meet and maintain all requirements. These requirements include providing the materials and equipment needed and businesses conduct only the operations that are allowed under their county’s phase status. Restaurants must still follow all face mask requirements.

The governor also issued a reminder that bar seating and live music are prohibited under Phases 2 and 3.