Whatcom County enters Phase 2 of COVID-19 Safe Start

You can sit in a restaurant, but not at the bar

Whatcom County announced today that the county’s application to move Phase 2 of reopening was approved by the state.

What does it mean for bars and restaurants?

  • Restaurants can operate at half their normal seating capacity, inside and out.
  • Tables can seat up to five people, and there must be six feet between parties.
  • No bar seating.
  • You’ll need to wear a mask when not seated (so take it off at the table, but put it back on when you get up to pee).
  • Clubs and bars that don’t serve food are still closed.
  • To-go drinks are allowed until 30 days after Phase 4 is approved, so we’ve got that going for us.

It’s going be tough for restaurants to get by on half capacity. Expect to see check minimums, table time limits, and preferential seating for groups of four or five. But if we’re all good — wash our hands, wear our masks, and keep our distance — and COVID-19 cases continue to drop, we’ll go into Phase 3 in three weeks.

Other guidelines for Phase 2

Social distancing is still a thing, but the rules are relaxed a bit in Phase 2. Here’s what’s now allowed.

  • Gatherings with no more than five people, per week, from outside your household.
  • Outdoor recreation in groups of five or less.
  • Salons and retail businesses can operate at reduced capacity.
  • Offices, construction, cleaning services, and pet groomers are back in business.

These guidelines have been in flux from the beginning, and things will certainly change in the days and weeks to come. We’ll post updates with new information as it comes.