Outdoor seating area at Mule and Elk Brewing in Cle Elum.

Moving to Phase 2 – more Washington taprooms, bars get green light to reopen


(Friday, June 5) It was just announced that 14 counties have been cleared for the next phase of Washington’s “Safe Start” plan. While some of the state’s most populous counties are moving from Phase 1 into Phase 2, King County is moving into “Modified Phase 1,” which I explain below. (above: The outdoor seating area at Mule & Elk Brewing in Cle Elum.)

By now, I hope everyone knows what to expect to see during phase 2. If not, see our previous article explaining what it means in terms of taprooms, taverns, bars, and so on.

If a county is not mentioned below, nothing changes at this time.

The following counties have been cleared to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2:

  • Clark (Vancouver)
  • Okanogan (Wenatchee, Leavenworth)
  • Pierce (Tacoma, Puyallup)
  • Skagit (Mt. Vernon, Burlington)
  • Snohomish (Everett, Marysville)
  • Whatcom (Bellingham)

The following counties have been cleared to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3:

  • Columbia
  • Ferry
  • Garfield
  • Lincoln
  • Pend Oreille
  • Stevens
  • Wahkiakum

The restrictions of “Modified Phase 1” will make it difficult for many of our Seattle and King County brewery taprooms, taverns, bars and restaurants to open, but we’ll keep an eye on things and expect many places to start opening.

Here is how Modified Phase 1 will look:

  • Outdoor dining activities (that includes drinking at taprooms and taverns) allowed at 50 percent of capacity with all tables and chairs maintaining 6 feet of distance, though additional seating will be allowed provided it follows Public Health – Seattle & King County’s best practices.
  • Restaurants (that includes taprooms and taverns) will also need to go through the normal process within their city (or King County if the establishment is located within unincorporated King County) to seek approval to expand outdoor seating.
  • Indoor dining services (that includes drinking at taprooms and taverns) may operate at 25 percent of capacity, provided such tables and chairs are more than 6 feet away from each other.