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Questions regarding Phase II: Workplace Safety

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Make sure you’ve seen the CDC guidance for businesses and employers here. 

Should I conduct a hazard assessment of my business prior to reopening? 

Yes, you should.  Review your Accident Prevention Program manual and ensure all areas in your business meet compliance requirements. Create a cleaning schedule and train employees to follow all guidelines.  Consider high touch areas to include restroom handles, cashier areas/counters, all available seating and all other areas guests may gather.  Frequently clean all areas. Eliminate community use condiments and move to individual packets.  

If I introduce a new cleaner to my business as a result of coronavirus, what are the requirements? 

Make sure that you have Safety Data Sheets (example) added to your chemical notebook and that all staff has been trained on proper usage and disposal.  Proper usage includes using only the recommended amount of cleaner – more is not better!  

What can I do to keep my workplace safe and L&I compliant? 

Have signage visible regarding capacity and other coronavirus-related guidelines.  Also have handwashing stations available at the front and back-of-house, with mobile hand sanitizer available as well. Sanitize with anti-viral or other EPA approved disinfectant cleaner frequently as set by the CDC.  Clean common-touch surfaces like tabletops after each customer’s use and frequently clean counters.   

How do I maintain social distancing requirements when training my staff? 

Either stagger training sessions or do remotely via web meeting platform.  You can gather a larger group of staff outdoors or in a large open space. Any new training materials should be made available electronically or printed for each employee.   

Do I need to change the access to my business? 

If possible, create a separate entrance and exit for your guests to encourage better flow and meet social distancing requirements. Also, setting up outdoor waiting areas is encouraged. 

 What can I do if I receive notice that a coronavirus-related complaint has been filed against my business? 

When there is a complaint, the business will receive a letter in the mail from Labor and Industries that addresses the specific complaints from the party, employee or customer. Then they will ask the business to post that complaint in a common area for the employees to see. The business must post that letter for at least three days or until the hazard is corrected. The business must report back to the department in writing, describing what corrective actions they have taken. This can be a written statement or may require documentation, like training records or purchase receipts. 

How can I de-escalate a conflict between a staff member and a customer who is complaining about restrictions?  

Ensure all staff has been trained for this kind of situation and remove the customer from public view if possible.  Request manager assistance and empathize with the customer while enforcing the necessary restrictions to keep all others safe.  

Should I call the police if a customer causes a disturbance related to a perceived lack of safety/coronavirus prevention?  

If you believe your safety is at risk or that of any team member, then you should call law enforcement. 

My restaurant is a buffet-style establishment, am I not permitted to open? 

Buffets and salad bars are not permitted in Phase 2, but you may reopen your establishment if you are able to convert to table service. Our team is working closely to develop additional options. 

What can I do about overcrowding?  

If you can reduce the opportunity for high traffic areas do so, reservations are strongly encouraged. Create ample space for guests to social distance and designate an employee as a safety ambassador who is experienced at crowd control.  

How do I enforce social distance requirements?  

Set your business up for success.  Create social distance by moving tables and creating space that does not encourage unrelated groups to gather.  Doing this early will limit confusion for guests and staff. Outdoor seating is encouraged if possible. 

How do wait staff serve tables while maintaining social distancing? 

Servers can wear masks, maintain some distance and still provide guests with excellent customer service as well as a sense of safety.