Washington State Restaurants To Keep Log Of All Diners’ Names, Contact Info

Restaurants in Washington state will begin collecting the names and contact information for all diners under strict new rules set by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in a four-phase plan to reopen the state.

Among the 13 criteria that restaurants must meet in order to reopen is a requirement that they “create a daily log of customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in.”

“This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur,” the rules say.

“In contact tracing,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says in guidelines, “public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious.”

Among the other rules set out in Washington for restaurants to reopen:

  • All parties and tables must be 5 guests or less.
  • Guest occupancy must be 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower.
  • Tables must be placed far enough apart when measured from occupied chair to occupied chair, to ensure dine-in guests seated at a table are a minimum of 6 feet away from guests at adjacent
    tables.
  • Single use menus are required for in-person dining.
  • It is strongly suggested customers wear a cloth face covering anytime they are not seated at the table (while being seated or leaving, or while going to the restroom).

In addition, all reopened restaurants must screen employees for signs of COVID-19 at the start of every shift and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks.

“No restaurant or tavern may operate indoor or sit-down services until they can meet and maintain all requirements, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply,” the guidelines state.

Eight counties in Washington have been cleared to reopen restaurants under Phase Two.

Meanwhile, the state announced this week that it has already trained nearly 1,400 people to serve as contact tracers, the Seattle Times reported.

“When a person tests positive, they will receive a phone call from a contact tracer, Inslee said. The tracer will ask where the person has gone and who they’ve been in contact with. They’ll then call those people — ideally within 48 hours — telling them they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive, and asking them to self-quarantine until they can be tested themselves and test negative,” The Times wrote.

“It is supremely important to our ability to reopen our economy and our businesses while simultaneously protecting our health,” Inslee said of contact tracing, calling it “absolutely integral to our success.”

“If you have someone who becomes sick, and they were sitting right next to a person at a restaurant,” Inslee said, “to be able to identify that person could be very helpful.”

Inslee also sought to ease concerns over contact tracing. “The information collected is only used by public health,” he said. “It will not be shared.”

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