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Outdoor seating requirements for restaurants, taverns, wineries and distilleries

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The Governor’s office has released new official guidelines concerning outdoor dining requirements for restaurants, taverns, wineries and distilleries, most critically providing some clarity on tenting requirements for outdoor dining areas.

The guidance dictates that outdoor structures should have no more than two walls so as to provide appropriate ventilation, unless they meet one of the following requirements:

  • Ensure your plans will comply with local building codes, your local health jurisdiction, and L&I requirements before using outdoor seating and structures.
  • Structures can have three walls if another opening exists large enough to create cross ventilation.
  • Smaller outdoor dining structures, such as pods or igloos, must meet sanitation guidance as dictated by the DOH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Food Establishments; be limited to one dining party (five people) at a time; must keep doors and windows open while inhabited; must be aired out between dining parties for 10 minutes prior to cleaning and sanitizing. A new party may not be seated until after sanitizing.
  • At a minimum, employees must wear disposable masks and structures should be kept open to air as best as possible during cleaning.
  • Ensure orders and food delivery occur outside the structures if possible.
  • Lighting, electrical, ventilation and heating must not create a hazard for employees. Use caution with electrical cords; heaters must not produce carbon monoxide (such as propane heaters). As noted above, plans need to comply with state and local requirements/permits.

For the complete list of guidance concerning outdoor dining requirements, please visit the official source.