WA Releases Phase 2 Rules For In-Store Retailers, Manufacturers

WASHINGTON — As Washington enters Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s plan to reopen the economy, a number of businesses will be allowed to resume operations: taverns and bars, restaurants, big box stores, department stores, boutiques, retailers and manufacturers.

But how those businesses are run will have changed. The state has already released rules for restaurants and taverns. Tuesday night, the Governor’s office followed up with new regulations for in-store retail and manufacturers.

Guidelines for in-store retail

The new retail guidelines apply to reopening big box stores, department stores, sporting good stores, boutiques, and any other physical location where goods are “exchanged with the general public”. The rules also apply stores that have remained open during the outbreak like groceries, supermarkets, as well as home improvement, pet and auto supply stores.

Under the new requirements, stores must:

  • Limit the number of shoppers to less than 30 percent the normal maximum building occupancy. That limit does not include employees.

  • Hang signs and place markers instructing the public on safety regulations like

  • Occupancy limits

  • The six-foot safe social distancing requirements

  • Face cover and mask policies

  • At clothing stores, fitting rooms must be sanitized after every use and returned clothes have to be taken off the sales floor and set aside for at least 24 hours.

If possible, stores are also asked to establish a time period where only customers who are high risk for the coronavirus are allowed inside.

The full guidelines for retailers can be found here.

Manufacturing facility requirements

Manufacturers have also been given a new set of coronavirus safety guidelines. The guidelines affect all manufacturing facilities except food processing or packaging. Any office or retail space that occasionally assembles a product in-store is not subject to the guidelines either.

Under the guidelines, manufacturers will:

  • Designate a site-specific COVID-19 Coordinator to monitor the health of employees, screening them for symptoms at the start of the shift and sending sick employees home.

  • Establish a routine housekeeping and sanitation schedule and ensure employees frequently wash their hands and sanitize supplies. Disposable gloves should be worn where it is safe to do so.

  • Develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate the virus. The plan must cover topics like PPE, physical distancing guidelines, hygiene and sanitation.

  • Have soap and water readily available for frequent hand washing. Same with disinfectant and cleaning supplies.

  • Post required hygienic practices where they are visible to all workers.

  • Frequently clean all high-touch surfaces like shared tools and machines, doorknobs and toilets. Similarly tools like brooms rakes or other hand tools must be sanitized after each use.

  • If an employee goes home sick, their whole work area must be disinfected. Policies must be set in place to encourage employees to report their illnesses and leave as soon as possible.

Teams of workers should also be separated into smaller groups whenever possible, to avoid coronavirus transmission.

The full guidance on manufacturing during Phase 2 can be found here.

Entering Phase 2

8 counties have already begun the process of entering Phase 2 of Inslee’s Safe Start plan. Counties with a population under 75,000 and with no new coroanvirus cases in the past three weeks can apply to enter Phase 2 early, otherwise the rest of the state is set to enter Phase 2 around June 1, barring any major updates.


This article originally appeared on the Seattle Patch