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Tasting Room Health Safety Policy For COVID Times

(updated 10-20-2021)



Table Of Contents




Tasting Room Service

  • Service
  • Distancing & Occupancy
  • Refusal Policy
  • Signage

Employee Behaviors & Tasting Procedures

  • Service
  • Sanitizing & Cleaning Protocols
  • Wellness Checks

Employee Education Resources


A note on the creation of this policy.

These health and safety protocols for winery tasting rooms are based on established governmental health and safety guidance (CDC, OSHA, FDA, and CDPH). Importantly, Washington Wine Commission & California Wine Institute consulted with Dr. Petros Karakousis, medical expert in the area of infectious diseases and Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; David Sarvardi,  Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP and senior  OSHA legal expert; the Wine Institute COVID-19  Health and Safety ad hoc Working Group; members of the Wine Institute Legal Subcommittee; and hospitality representatives from Wine Institute member companies. In addition, we have received extensive input from California regional winery associations as well as the Washington State Department of Health, the Office of Govenor Jay Inslee and are coordinating content with various states winery trade associations. 




-A note about service anywhere you go. Please be hyper-aware of your personal immuno-ability and that everyone is different and there is a spectrum of biological "load" limitations. Regardless of vaccination status or personal beliefs, if you are not feeling 100% healthy please consider everyone you will or may come in contact with on a given day. Thank you.

Parties up to 6 are allowed while open to the public during normal business hours. Accommodations can be made for households or quarantine groups greater than 6 if a Private tasting reservation is made in advance and it is agreed that the tasting room will be closed to the public. Tables, tasting notes(laminated), surfaces and glassware shall be cleaned and disinfected using approved methods in between tastings, reservations or “seatings”. All tastings/pouring shall be conducted by winery staffs unless a bottle is purchased, only then will a guest be allowed to pour his/her or a party members’ beverage. Tastings & Wine glass-pours shall be poured for and brought to guests after they have been seated at the table. Guests will be strongly encouraged to wear masks in public whenever possible as directed by King County Officials. Guest access and occupancy will be monitored at the door on an “as-needed” basis. Exterior doors shall remain open whenever possible and temperatures are reasonable.

 All payment surfaces shall be cleaned and disinfected approximately every 15 minutes or after every guest use.


Distancing & Occupancy


Face Coverings: Required at all times not seated.

Employee Face Coverings: Required

Physical Distancing: Guests and staff alike shall be directed to maintain 3-6 feet apart from all persons NOT in their party. Guests and staff shall be directed to be mindful of others social boundaries spoken and un-spoken. If guests or staff are unsure of a social boundary or have a request, it is best to ask.

Occupancy: 50% - 100% (Conditional)


Refusal Policy

Any guests exhibiting symptoms of flu or COVID-19 enough to make other guests or staff uncomfortable or feel unsafe shall be asked to leave immediately, service whether new or ongoing shall be refused. Any guests refusing to wear a mask shall be refused service as per Washington State guidelines. Payment for merchandise and alcoholic beverages ordered shall be paid in full regardless of whether or not an individual is “finished” or not. Theft of alcohol or defrauding an innkeeper is a crime. Employees exhibiting symptoms shall be sent home immediately. Refusal Policy signage shall be posted in a conspicuous place. Stop the spread of germs signage shall be posted in a conspicuous place. 




Signage in conspicuous places shall consists of but not be limited to:

“Stop the Spread of Germs” Signage

“COVID-19 Symptoms”

“Refusal Statement”

“King County Mask Directive”

“6ft Social Distancing Floor Markers and Visual Cues”

Bathroom Signage





All employees must self evaluate for flu-like symptoms before coming to work. Observe/execute usual opening duties. Before guests arrive, thoroughly wipe down or sanitize all surfaces including serviec stations, laminated tasting notes, payment terminal screens, tabletops, and use sanitizing fabric spray for furniture.



All employees must observe all service procedures outlined in part 1 of this policy. Be mindful, taking in verbal and non-verbal cues, of guests social boundaries and acting appropriately to reasonably accommodate all guests. This will ensure all guests and staff have fun and feel safe. All staff shall wear a mask when directly facing guests, pouring wine or executing food/snack prep of any kind. Non-latex gloves shall be worn when executing food/snack prep of any kind. Create synergistic “work-together but apart” routines for efficient service using established staging areas. Use disposable gloves wherever safe and applicable to prevent spread of germs. Reasonably minimize direct contact with other staff as much as possible.


 Cleaning & Sanitizing

Wipe down all tables, surfaces, payment terminal screens & tasting notes(laminated) before, in between, and after all tastings/seatings with approved disinfectant wipes/sprays. Employees shall wash hands “noticeably” often. Make sure restroom hand washing soap and hand sanitizer stations are topped off before, mid and after shift.


Wellness Checks

Managers shall be responsible for employee wellness checks asking the following questions

Have you been coughing or sneezing?
Have you experienced shortness of breath or trouble breathing?
Have you experienced hot flashes, cold sweat, or fever?
Are you experiencing any other flu-like symptoms?

In the case a manager is not present or an employee is opening alone a “Self-Wellness Evaluation” will be necessary. Employees should consider self administered temperature checks 1-12 hrs prior to work(100.4 temp and above is considered dangerous). Each employee shall receive a HIPPA privacy notice.



Employees shall be expected to take a brief, meaningful & understandable quiz regarding the spread of disease and its impact historically and currently. Training on COVID-19 symptom criteria, proper sanitization and personal hygiene shall be discussed with all new and current employees.



Statistics & Health Guidlines WWW.DOH.WA.GOV

Washington State Face Mask Directive  https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/ClothFacemasks.pdf


Winery Tasting Room & Restaurant Phased Openings(Subject to change as per Governor Directives)  https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Phase%202%20Restaurant%20industry%20re-open%20proposal_FINAL.pdf


King County Mask Directive https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/care/masks.aspx




Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Pandemic Preparedness Page (EEOC) https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pandemic-preparedness-workplace-and-americans-disabilities-act





Wine Institute Corona Virus Guidelines