Restaurants and customers respond to retraction of contact requirement

SEATTLE - Restaurants will no longer be required to collect contact information from diners after a new update from the governor’s office.

Earlier this week, Governor Jay Inslee announced restaurants would be required to collect customer information. The move is a part of Inslee’s contact tracing initiative plan, with a goal of boxing in the virus.

On Friday, however, Inslee took a step back. He said providing the information would be voluntary.

“It will take some of the weight off people’s minds about it. Where it’s no longer government mandatory ‘give us your information if you want to be out in public’ kind of thing,” said Cody Karr.

Karr is a manager at Percy’s and Co. in Ballard.

He says the new voluntary option allows customers to have a choice.

“Now it’s like ‘give us your information if you want to be informed if something comes up that you may be concerned about,'” he said.

Margaret Mitchell was picking up to-go food along Ballard Avenue. She said she supports doing whatever helps businesses get back on their feet.

“The bottom line is getting people back into restaurants, and getting our lives back,” she said.

Mitchell says she respects if people are uncomfortable providing their information, but she does not have a problem with it.

“I don’t mind giving out my information. I don’t think it’s going to be used in a way that’s going to be detrimental to my family and the sole purpose is to contact me if me or my children or exposed and I don’t see any problem with that,” she said.

Under Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s plan to re-open Washington State, restaurants and taverns can open with less than 50% capacity, only five people are permitted per table, and no bar seating is allowed.

Phase 2 is expected to take effect in early June, but there is no set date.