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UPDATE: Minor employees can temporarily work back-of-house in 21+ establishments

May 26, 2022 | Reopening 2021, Restaurant Reopening Guide

***UPDATE: May 26, 2022***

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced today they are extending the “Minor Employees in Liquor Establishments” temporary allowance. The allowance, currently set to expire on June 1, will now expire on Sept. 30, 2022.

The Washington Hospitality Association’s government affairs team has been working with the LCB to extend the temporary allowance for minors to work back-of-house in 21+ establishments. This is another big win for hospitality businesses that are struggling to hire enough team members during a tight labor market.

Learn more about the temporary allowance below.

Originally published June 25, 2021

If you caught the latest CEO Podcast, you heard Anthony Anton talk about the many factors contributing to the workforce shortage right now. There is no one perfect solution to this problem, so fixing the labor shortage crisis will require a variety of solutions.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) made an announcement today that moves forward on one of those solutions through expansion of the labor pool. Effective immediately, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old employees may perform back-of-house work in restricted liquor establishments now through September 30, 2021 Sept. 30, 2022.

Your government affairs team has been working closely with the LCB to adopt this new policy to ease employee age restrictions for restricted liquor establishments. This is a major win for hospitality operators who are struggling to fill open positions as the state looks to fully reopen next week.

  • The LCB has parameters that must be met for establishments to take advantage of this new allowance. Those parameters include:
  • The employee is at least eighteen years old;
  • The employee holds a position that is not directly involved in the sale or service of alcohol (such as washing dishes, cooking or cleaning);
  • The employee does not perform work in the bar, lounge or dining areas;
  • The employee does not serve food, drinks or interact with guests;
  • The employee is not in possession of alcohol at any time; and
  • A supervisor who is at least 21 years old is present at all times.

Additional information from the LCB:
The LCB has temporarily allowed minor-restricted liquor establishments classified as “off limits to persons under the age of 21” to be temporarily declassified as “age restricted” for specific areas (such as the kitchen area) within the licensed premises. This declassification allows minor-restricted liquor establishments to declassify limited areas for the sole purpose of employing persons aged 18-20 for limited job duties as described above.

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