Thursday 14 May 2020

Gov. Inslee to Washington state restaurants: Want to reopen? You'll have to help us track citizens' movements

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on May 1 published his state's four-phase plan to reopen, which went into effect May 5. Dine-in restaurants can finally begin reopening in Phase 2.

Until Monday, no one knew what the requirements would be for restaurants wanting to do business. But now, restaurants in eight counties that have been approved to jump to Phase 2 immediately are discovering that Inslee's order includes maintaining a log of customers that would lay the groundwork for a contact-tracing plan that would track citizens' movements.

What's that now?

Gov. Inslee's plan always included a Phase 2 that would allow dine-in restaurants and taverns to open at 50% capacity, but he offered zero initial details on what the businesses' requirements would be should they choose to reopen.
After a total of eight counties were approved Friday and Monday to move to Phase 2, the governor posted his 13 requirements for any dine-in facilities that wanted to do business.
The new requirements include party-size limits, a ban on bar seating, hand-sanitizer stations, occupancy caps, distance between seats, proscriptions on buffets, single-use-only menus, and staffing guidance.
But one requirement is raising eyebrows.
Inslee told restaurants they must keep a log of all customers' names, phone numbers, emails, and arrival times, and maintain those logs for at least 30 days.
The logs will reportedly be part of a statewide plan to track citizens' movements.
From the governor's website:
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. This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur.
Eater noted that no one knows how the tracking info will be maintained and handled. Also, the governor was not clear on what would happen to the data once it's no longer needed.
Inslee addressed concerns about the state's contact-tracing plan Tuesday and said the state would have the authority to prevent restaurant data from being used for anything other than contact tracing, Eater reported.
However, he said the state is still working on how exactly it would protect the data.

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