Update 6/5/20: Stevens County is now approved for Phase 3. More information to come.
Disclaimer: Because the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is continually developing, topics mentioned in this article are subject to change without notice.
Phase 2 of the “Safe Start” plan for Washington state came to Spokane and Stevens County rather abruptly, leaving some businesses confused and scrambling. Eager to re-open, a few businesses had begun sanitizing and writing their new policies in preparation prior to the announcement. Others let their customers know it will be a little longer before they can open their doors again, as they make sure their business adheres to Phase 2 safety requirements.
Phase 2 allows for the reopening of dine-in restaurants and taverns, in-store retail, manufacturing operations, professional services, personal services (nail and hair salons, barbers, cosmetology, estheticians, etc), outdoor recreation, construction, professional photography, pet grooming, fitness, and real estate, as long as specific guidelines are met.
Brick and mortar retail operations may resume as long as a written procedure is adopted that follows a set of specifically outlined safety regulations. Until they can meet and maintain these standards, they may not operate.
Businesses must offer some kind of contactless options such as Curbside Pickups, and/or delivery if possible. They must also consider customer traffic management and sanitation.
Customer Traffic Management
Guest occupancy is to be capped at 30%, not including employees. Markers and signage must be put in place that directs the flow of traffic throughout the store, as well as noting a 6ft distance between customers. Stores have implemented this with signs near front entrances and visuals on the floor to remind customers. A 6ft distance must be maintained and ensured between all employees and customers. When possible, stores should offer a timeframe solely for high-risk individuals.
All areas and equipment, especially those frequently touched, must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized frequently. A down time between shifts to allow for cleaning must be ensured.
If a business offers fitting rooms, these must be cleaned after each customer, and any items tried on but not purchased must be removed from the sales floor for 24 hours.
All in-store sit-down food and beverage services must adhere to Phase 2 restaurant requirements.
Malls And Shopping Centers
Malls and shopping centers must follow sanitation guidelines and ensure that tenants follow guidelines as well.
Employers & Employees
All employers must make sure that they are protecting their employees by educating them about coronavirus and their policies, including:
- Maintaining 6ft distance throughout stores
- Providing protective equipment including masks and gloves
- Ensuring proper hand-washing and housekeeping takes place
- Performing health screenings at the start of each employee’s shift
- A COVID-19 Supervisor should be designated to perform these screenings
Those who are sick must stay home or immediately be sent home.
Cloth facial coverings must be worn by all employees who are not working alone.
Employees can refuse to work if they do not feel it is safe due to risks of exposure to COVID-19, and employers cannot take adverse actions against employees who choose not to work. If an alternate work arrangement such as working from home is not feasible, their employer must provide them with access to their choice of accrued leave or unemployment benefits. Depending on the circumstances, other leave options may apply.
Medical and dental offices have re-opened, and some church services have already resumed. Each phase will last a minimum of 3 weeks, according to the state Department of Health.
For a full, detailed list of in-store retail requirements, and more information on how these guidelines affect your specific type of business, please refer to: