- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is ordering restaurants to keep a daily log of their dine-in customers if they want to reopen their doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Eight Washington counties were approved to move on to Phase 2 under Mr. Inslee’s four-phase plan to reopen the state, which will allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in services at 50% capacity, The Seattle Times reported.

Under the plan, restaurants that want to resume dine-in services must keep track of their customers.

“If the establishment offers table service, create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in,” the plan states. “This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.”

Other rules include capping table sizes to five people and providing hand sanitizer upon entry of the establishment. Bar seating, buffets and salad bars are still banned under the plan.

Restaurants must also screen employees for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at start of each shift, and a “COVID-19 Supervisor” must be designated by the employer at each job site to monitor the health of employees and enforce the safety guidances.

“I’m not sure how many customers will be very comfortable giving the names and phone numbers for privacy reasons,” Niko Raptis, owner of the Loft Cafe and Courtyard in Edmonds, told KING 5.

“With 50% capacity, that means that you need to renegotiate the rent or something,” he said. “Something needs to happen because we don’t play with the same rules that we used to play with prior to COVID-19.”

Jennifer Lee, the manager of technology and liberty at ACLU of Washington, criticized the requirement of keeping a log of customers.

“People may provide inaccurate information to protect their privacy, or they might refuse to provide information altogether,” Ms. Lee told KING 5. “Additionally, certain communities may be disproportionately deterred from visiting restaurants at all. We all need to remember that privacy is absolutely compatible with public health, and in fact privacy-friendly public health measures can often be more beneficial to public health goals.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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