By Anthony Anton, president and CEO

With Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement this afternoon, we now have a clearer sense of the sequence by which the state will reopen. The good news is: Restaurants are next.

This has been a difficult time for our industry. Restaurants are not only eager but ready to serve guests in our restaurants once the state moves forward into Phase 2 of reopening.

We want to thank the governor for working collaboratively with the Washington Hospitality Association, and for his trust in our industry’s preparedness to serve the community safely as soon as we get the green light.

This trust is well-earned. Our industry has long been held to the highest public health and safety standards, and we have further enhanced our safety practices over the last two months in order to continue serving customers safely throughout the pandemic.

Since the timing of Phase 2 is uncertain and dependent on public health metrics, it is critical for restaurants to start taking the following steps now for when that day comes:

• Planning for chairs 6 feet apart,
• Lobby management plans,
• Encouraging reservations,
• Sourcing masks, and
• Health screenings for employees.

Our entire industry is dependent on each other to get this right, safely serve our community and get our hard-working employees back to work doing what they love.

We have earned the governor’s trust by serving our communities safely, and by taking the steps above, we will keep it. The Washington Hospitality Association will continue to work with the governor as he considers all the factors and metrics involved in moving to Phase 2, and we’ll keep making the case for what is possible to safely achieve when that decision is made.

We know there’s a lot to be done, by us and by you.

But we’re thankful for this opportunity and will work to ensure our members have the continued support you need as we move through this crisis.