BIZNOTE: More West Seattle establishments offering ‘open-air’ indoor-outdoor seating

In the first week of the new statewide “Healthy Washington” reopening roadmap, businesses are still exploring the fine print. For food and beverage businesses, though indoor dining is still banned in Phase 1, “open-air” service is allowed as well as outdoor seating. That means establishments such as Best of Hands Barrelhouse (Instagram photo above) that have walls with multiple windows can offer 25 percent capacity seating with those windows open. The Lodge in The Junction plans to start offering open-air seating tomorrow; the West Seattle Junction Association tells us Matador and JaK’s Grill have it too, and others are planning to follow. This is in addition to the numerous establishments that already have patio and/or “pod” outdoor seating, from Mission Cantina (WSB sponsor) and several Alki spots in the north, to places like The Bridge and The Westy in the south. You can read the new state guidelines here. Phase 1, by the way, will last at least one more week; the state is announcing every Friday what phase regions will be in as of the following Monday, and today’s news is that everyone stays in Phase 1 – although you can see on page 4 here that the Puget Sound region, including King County, was close.

32 Replies to "BIZNOTE: More West Seattle establishments offering 'open-air' indoor-outdoor seating"

  • Admiral resident January 15, 2021 (7:36 pm)

    What about Cactus at Alki or Mioposto in the Admiral District?  Do their open windows not qualify for indoor dining?

  • Eddie January 15, 2021 (9:52 pm)

    Matador had a sign and a person told me today that they were installing Carbon Monoxide detectors and opening doors and windows. If the monitors exceed some CO threshold, the sign says they’ll evacuate the place. Dont understand any relationship to CO levels and Covid-safe.First I’d heard about opening doors and windows to become an open air establishment. If it can be safely done, more power to them.

    • bill January 15, 2021 (10:24 pm)

      I can see using carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration as a proxy for potential virus concentration, but is there any science guiding the choice of a threshold?Now, if Matador is seriously using carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, whoever is behind this missed their calling as National Science misDirector in the trump maladminstration. This is tragically hilarious.

  • Stay well January 16, 2021 (6:35 am)

    High CO levels may indicate an air quality / ventilation issue, so I can see that being one piece of the puzzle.

    However, this virus can still be transmitted in ventilated spaces, the risk is just lower. So I hope these detectors don’t give people a false sense of security.

    These mitigation strategies may have been enough to reduce risk with the original covid strain, but what about with the newer more contagious variants?

    I really want restaurants to be able to make it through this pandemic, but I have concerns with any business hosting patrons right now.

    • Stay well January 16, 2021 (2:35 pm)

      Oops, correction: CO2 not CO

  • JES January 16, 2021 (6:58 am)

    I get that businesses want to open, but with new strains of the virus emerging is it really safe? Can we just wait for the vaccine??

    • ej January 16, 2021 (10:59 am)

      We ordered out from The Bridge last night and the patio was packed. I had to go inside to get the food and it was so uncomfortable! No one was sitting inside but multiple people came in to get drinks while I was there and I wanted to run!  Physical distancing is so hard inside… I want to support our businesses but it’s tough to feel safe right now. I will say that the staff was on point with safety. Distancing, sanitized vs dirty pen containers, encouraging people to give space… Tough times…

      • Seabruce January 16, 2021 (12:49 pm)

        Could they require diners/drinkers/smokers to at least cover their nose since that seems to be the major pathway for transmission? A red clown nose could be fun

    • Eye roll January 22, 2021 (2:57 am)

      STAY HOME then. People’s livelihoods don’t depend on whether you feel safe or not.

  • waikikigirl January 16, 2021 (8:16 am)

    On another note, I went to a doctor appt. yesterday and the RN asked me to wear one of their disposable masks instead of the cloth one I wore in with. I asked her if the one I wore was not as good as the disposable one and she said no the disposable is better. Confusing, cloth or disposable??? I wash “mine” everyday.Quote from Governor’s  requirements for open-air indoor/outdoor dining.ensure customers and staff always wear cloth face coverings except when consuming food or beverages while seated.

    • Lincoln January 16, 2021 (10:15 am)

      They probably asked you to use the disposable ones to make sure it’s clean since there’s no way to know if everyone washes their cloth mask daily.

    • trickycoolj January 16, 2021 (12:08 pm)

      Procedure masks (the blue disposable masks) are made from melt blown fabric and can filter more than cloth, especially considering some cloth masks that are advertised as 2-3 layers allow a ton of visible light through. So maybe your cloth mask is of the tightest weave and sanitized daily but a lot of folks just wear a single layer of stretchy fabric like those neck tubes that aren’t very protective in close quarters but are probably ok enough for a short encounter outside. My employer requires procedure masks for anyone that needs to be in a shared space for prolonged periods (with 6’ separation) if they can’t separate 6’ they require a respirator (we have industrial types not the medical N95 you’d see at a medical office). 

      • Seabruce January 16, 2021 (12:52 pm)

        Two layers of cloth have been shown to be pretty effective but Swedish doesn’t allow bandannas, gaiters or N95 masks with exhaust vent so they make you wear procedure mask

        • waikikigirl January 16, 2021 (2:00 pm)

          My cloth one(s)are all 2 layer and the one I wore yesterday has a pocket for a filter to which I had inside it.  Whatever’s best to be worn???  either or I wear one no matter what. 

    • AMD January 16, 2021 (4:00 pm)

      I think there is so much variety in cloth masks–from the fibers to the weave, etc.–it’s easier for them to offer you a surgical mask and KNOW the level of protection rather than guess, and have uncomfortable conversations with people whose masks they don’t think are tightly woven enough to offer commensurate protection.  Your cloth mask may be just as good as a surgical mask.  The guy behind you’s mask might not be.

  • Anne January 16, 2021 (9:18 am)

    A bit confused-if a restaurant has big windows/doors they can open-does that mean whole inside of place is open for dining? take Jaks-if they open the front windows-would it be enough to make it “safe” to eat in -say a booth in the back-or upstairs? Wonder also about heating? With all the windows open-in winter-would it  make sense to even have heat on?  Otherwise that heating bill could be a doozy!!

    • Gaylynn January 16, 2021 (4:45 pm)

      Hi!!We have 3 tables upstairs and 5 tables downstairs, no seating in the back. All windows upstairs are open as is the big front window, lots of heaters to keep you toasty. Dress warm🥂

  • Anne January 16, 2021 (9:25 am)

    So once again -using JAKS example-if you’re sitting in a booth & CO2 levels there  exceed the requirements -they would need to move you-where?

     3. Open Air Concept 1 & 2:a. Carbon dioxide (CO2) continuously monitored when the seating area is in use to ensure adequate exchange with outdoor air. If CO2 levels exceed 450ppm for 15 minutes, patrons must be relocated to an open-air seating option that meets requirements.

    • Admiral resident January 16, 2021 (11:08 am)

      A restaurant in my neighborhood has outdoor seating, but last week’s rain dampened business. They have windows that open. Open air dining will attract customers during inclement weather.

  • flimflam January 16, 2021 (9:27 am)

    i want restaurants to survive but this “open air” idea seems a bit much – who will monitor or enforce that its being applied correctly? as it is, i’v seen a few places with fully or almost fully enclosed tents (not individual, but large, intended for many guests).owners are getting desperate and this seems very open to abuse/interpretation – intentional or not. 

  • Gatewood88 January 16, 2021 (1:06 pm)

    This is great news. Our government has needed to focus more on indoor air quality/ventilation guidance during the pandemic. There are ways to open schools, restaurants, etc. while significantly cutting risk of infection.This is guided by science- as long as restaurants truly comply … let’s hope they do so we do not have to shut them down again. 

  • Anne January 16, 2021 (1:56 pm)

    The way to open schools is to first let all school employees get vaccinated. 

  • WTF January 16, 2021 (2:00 pm)

    Let’s just let the state give it a try; we have to start somewhere. This gives some businesses a chance…seems like many of you forget that businesses hire people, people make money, money allows people to survive and purchase things that also help businesses to survive.  If you’re afraid, continue to maintain your own course of action, do what’s right for you, and remain at home until you feel comfortable.

    • Anne January 16, 2021 (3:43 pm)

      Yes absolutely- definitely worth a try & each can decide for themselves to go or not.

      • Stay well January 16, 2021 (4:48 pm)

        The conversation certainly should not be as simple as, ‘hey, let’s give it a try.’

        These are deeply philosophical ethical considerations and implications of endangering staff and customers, to stay in business, and for people to continue working in these higher risk jobs…

        And, people are not only choosing for themselves when they take risks. For every person who contracts covid they statistically will pass it on to at least one other, more likely more.

        • flimflam January 16, 2021 (5:57 pm)

          I agree, especially since restaurant workers are simultaneously somehow “essential workers” yet nowhere on the vaccine timeline.there are actual lives at stake potentially – that is more important than business owners money or people feeling bored and just HAVE to go out. None of this is more important than worker/patron  safety.the whole “if you are scared stay home” response is lazy and not based on facts.

          • heartless January 16, 2021 (6:33 pm)

            Flimflam, Stay Well:

            I agree. 

            I find it infuriating that “essential” workers–people who are now, and who have always been, on the frontlines–don’t get priority vaccinations, and yet continue to be put in harm’s way.

  • KBear January 16, 2021 (7:14 pm)

    Looks to me like they’re just recreating the indoors outdoors and wasting a whole lot of energy trying to keep it comfortable. Many of the dining spaces I’ve walked by have no “permeable walls”—they’re completely enclosed. But well heated.

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