Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday removed the requirement that all patrons at a restaurant table be from the same household, increased table capacity in Phases 2 and 3 of the state’s Safe Start reopening plan, and extended the cut-off for alcohol sales from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Anthony Anton

These changes drew praise from the Washington Hospitality Association.

“Outdoor dining has been the lifeline keeping many restaurants afloat during the summer of COVID-19, but it’s disappearing as rapidly as the warm weather,” Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, said in a statement. “Restaurants need indoor dining to be a viable source of revenue again soon or even more of operators will start going under. (Tuesday’s) announcement by Gov. Inslee is a step in the right direction and is great news for hospitality.”

Anton continued, “This is a testament to the stellar health and safety record of our industry in Washington, which, even while serving hundreds of thousands of people per day, has not been a leading contributor to the spread of COVID-19. We pledge as industry to keep it up and keep doing our part, and we encourage members of the public to continue doing their part to keep their favorite restaurants compliant by observing mask-wearing and social-distancing requirements.”

Restaurants can increase table size to six in Phase 2, which currently includes King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties; and to eight in Phase 3, which currently includes Thurston, Lewis, Mason, and Grays Harbor counties.

Inslee also loosened some restrictions on movie theaters, libraries, youth/adult sports, wedding receptions, retail events, real estate, outdoor recreation, and water recreation facilities. The governor’s news release announcing the new guidelines includes links to further details in each category.