Late Friday evening, May 15, 2020, Governor Inslee released a statement and memorandum clarifying the requirement announced earlier this week that restaurant patrons provide their contact information when dining out during Washington’s 4-stage economic reopening.
Restaurants will be allowed to start limited, regulated dine-in service when the state moves to phase 2 of the reopening plan. The earliest that phase can begin is June 1st and is dependent on COVID-19 virus and hospitalization data, as well as testing and contract tracing capacity.
When the guidelines for reopening restaurants was announced this week there was immediate public pushback and criticism that the mandatory contact information requirement could violate patrons’ privacy. The rule obligates restaurants to keep a 30-day log of dine-in customer’s names, time in and email/phone numbers for potential COVID-19 exposure contact tracing.
According to Governor Inslee’s memorandum, providing contact information will now be voluntary. He stated, “This will not be required of anyone.”
The memorandum reads:
“Effective today, May 15, 2020, I am no longer requiring customers to provide a business with contact information, and businesses should not condition service on a customer’s unwillingness to do so. Businesses are still obligated to maintain a customer log of those who voluntarily provide their information. The purpose of the log is to notify individuals if they have been exposed to COVID-19. The information will only be shared with public health officials if you are exposed. Public health officials will contact you to explain the risk, answer your questions and provide resources. This
information will not be used for any other purpose, including sales or marketing. If this list is not used within 30 days, it will destroy it.”