Outdoor Alcohol Service - Temporary Allowances Update

Effective Date: January 8, 2022
Effective Until: July 1, 2023
Applies to: On-Premises Liquor Licensees

To add or extend outside liquor service, on-premises liquor licensees must submit an alteration request and get approval from the Licensing Division before service can begin. Alteration requests are found below:

  • Alteration Request - Beer/Wine Restaurant or Spirit/Beer/Wine Restaurant only.
  • Alteration Request – All other license types – not listed above.

Permanent rules for outside or extended alcohol service are listed in WAC 314-03-200.

Temporary Rules for Outdoor Alcohol Service

  • These are listed below and are outlined in WAC 314-03-205.
  • These rules provide temporary exceptions to WAC 314-03-200
  • Descriptions and images of acceptable barriers for outdoor service areas are found here.

Outdoor Alcohol Service – Privately Owned Spaces
The temporary rules listed below are effective until July 1, 2023 and apply to all on-premises licensees.

Temporary Rules – Expire July 1, 2023
WAC 314-03-205
  • The area must be enclosed with a permanent or movable barrier(s) a minimum of 42 inches in height.
  • There must be an attendant, wait staff or server dedicated to the outside service area when patrons are present.
  • Interior access to the licensed premises from the outdoor alcohol service area is not required. When there is no interior access or a direct line of sight from inside the licensed premises, a MAST-certified employee must be present in the outside service area. 
  • Licensee must have leasehold or ownership rights to the area.
  • The outdoor service area must either be contiguous (connected) to the licensed business or located on the same property or parcel.
  • Licensees must comply with local building codes, health jurisdiction requirements, Dept. of Labor and Industries requirements, and any other applicable laws and rules
  • The same food service offered inside the licensed premises must also be offered in the outdoor area.
  • The licensee must have a building that provides indoor dining or production.
  • Openings into and out of the outside area cannot exceed 10' (feet). If there is more than one opening along one side, the total combined opening may not exceed 10'.

Outdoor Alcohol Service – Publicly Owned Spaces
Outside service areas located on public property must meet the same conditions as those located on private property (listed above), with a few differences (listed below). Public property means owned by the city or county.

Temporary Rule – Expires July 1, 2023
WAC 314-03-205
  • The licensed business must have a permit or documented authorization from their local jurisdiction allowing the business to use the public space as an alcohol service area, such as a sidewalk cafe permit or other similar outdoor area permit authorized by local regulation.
  • Licensees located on public property with the outside service area touching the licensed premises may use permanent demarcations to define the service area in place of 42” barriers. See WAC 314-03-200(6) for additional detail regarding demarcations.

Temporary Shared Outdoor Alcohol Service Areas
Along with providing temporary exceptions, WAC 314-03-205 also allow multiple on-premises licensees to share an outdoor alcohol service area if they meet the conditions listed below. 

Shared Outdoor Alcohol Service Area Temporary Rules- Expire July 1, 2023
WAC 314-03-205
  • Local jurisdiction approval or leasehold/ownership rights to operate and share the space;
  • The licensees' property parcels or buildings must be physically connected or touching each other along a boundary or at a point;
  • Licensees must complete an operating plan, for the shared outdoor alcohol service area. The operating plan should demonstrate in general how responsibility for the area is shared among the licensees;
  • Licensees must maintain separate storage of products and separate financial records for the shared outdoor alcohol service area;
  • Licensees must use distinctly marked glassware or serving containers in the shared outdoor alcohol service area to identify their business as the source of any alcohol product being consumed;
  • A licensee may not permit the removal of alcohol in an open container from the shared service area, except for reentry into the licensed premises from which the alcohol was purchased; and
  • All participating licensees will be held responsible for any violation or enforcement action that occurs in the shared outdoor service area; unless it can be demonstrated that it was due to one or more licensee's specific conduct or action.

To apply for a shared outdoor alcohol service area, complete the Application and Operating Plan here.

Descriptions and images of acceptable barriers for outdoor service areas are found here.




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