June 30 is finally here, which means the state is now fully open. Washington hospitality businesses are allowed to reopen and serve guests at full capacity.
Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton held a press conference on Tuesday to celebrate the reopening of the state.
“We’re excited, from 12:01 tonight, to welcome back hospitality to the state of Washington in its full form,” Anton said. “If you haven’t planned your summer vacation, places from Walla Walla to Long Beach to Downtown Seattle would be excited to have people coming back.”
The Washington Hospitality Association has been working closely with the governor’s office, state and local lawmakers, and public health officials on working toward a reopening plan. Last month, the association led a petition to urge policymakers to reopen the state by June 15. While it took a few extra weeks to get there, the 17,000+ signatures that were collected sent a strong message that Washington was ready to fully reopen safely.
Venue restrictions such as 6-foot social distancing, sanitation, and capacity limits are lifted as of today. Bar seating is allowed. Condiments are allowed at tables. Meetings and conferences can resume, and entertainment like dancing and bowling can return to full capacity.
There are a few exceptions to the reopening guidelines:
- Large indoor events with more than 10,000 people confined to indoor space are capped at 75% capacity. Masks are required for all attendees although no physical distancing is required.
- Events that have a vaccine verification process for attendees are allowed to operate at 100% capacity.
- Fully vaccinated employees are allowed to work without masks and physical distancing requirements.
- Employers may continue requiring all employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
- Unvaccinated employees and guests are still required to wear masks. Click here for the latest mask guidance from the governor’s office.
While it is exciting to be fully open again, vaccination rates are continuing to lag in many areas of the state. The sudden spread of the delta variant is pushing some county public health officials to urge residents to continue indoor mask use. The association recommends businesses follow state, local, and CDC guidance to help keep employees and guests safe.
The association will continue to work with the governor’s office and share the most recent information with members as policies and guidelines are updated.
Many hospitality association members continue to face challenges related to filling open positions. Some businesses may also be struggling with establishing vaccine and mask policies for employees and guests.
Be sure to check out the new SmartWA Business Decision Support Tool, which is designed specifically to help small business owners increase the number of customer visits through better-informed COVID-19 safety decisions. And the SmartWA COVID-19 Dashboard provides real time county-by-county data to help guide your reopening efforts.
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