On Monday, we distributed a link to a WA Craft Beer Industry Benchmarking Survey. The survey is still open and we’re asking for your help getting the link out to brewery owners and employees all across the state.
The survey results will help inform the work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee by providing valuable information regarding the make-up of the WA beer industry and brewery workplace culture. Once complete, we will share the aggregate data with all members.
Survey responses will be confidential and will only be viewed by WBG staff (not board members or committee members).
Please share the link with all employees, as many people are not on our guild distribution lists.
Our DEI committee is open to all who are interested in participating! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join.
With wildfire season upon us, L&I has issued new emergency rules for outdoor worker safety related to air quality. Effective July 16th, employers must:
- Learn to identify harmful smoke exposure risks and when to notify their employees
- Ensure that employees showing symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure are monitored and receive medical care when necessary
- Monitor the air quality using an app or visiting an appropriate website (Listed below)
- Train supervisors and employees about wildfire smoke
- Act when the air quality is harmful to their employees, such as limiting or eliminating their exposure to wildfire smoke
Air quality is considered dangerous when the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 151 or higher. Some air quality conditions may be harmful to those with pre-existing conditions.
Some measures employers may take to reduce their employees’ exposure to dangerous air quality include:
- Moving duties indoors
- Reducing work intensity
- Providing additional rest periods
- Providing employees with respirators or masks
Websites to check air quality:
- EPA’s AirNow website
- Washington State Department of Ecology’s Air Monitoring Network
- U.S. Forest Service AirFire website
- EPA Enviroflash
- NowCast WAQA
Mobile apps you can download:
You can find L&I’s best practices for protecting workers from wildfire smoke, here.
In response to recent soaring temperatures in the PNW, Labor & Industries has adopted emergency rules for heat exposure for outdoor workers.
Effective July 13th, the following is required of employers with outdoor workers, when the temperature is at or above 100 degrees:
- Provide shade or another sufficient means for employees to cool down
- Ensure workers have a paid cool-down rest period of at least 10 minutes every two hours
When temperatures are at or above 89 degrees, the new rules combined with existing rules require employers with outdoor workers to:
- Provide water that is cool enough to drink safely
- Allow and encourage workers to take additional paid preventative cool-down rest to protect from overheating;
- Be prepared by having a written outdoor heat exposure safety program and providing training to employees; and,
- Respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of heat-related illness.
You can read more about these emergency heat safety rules, as well general heat safety for the workplace, here.
With the U.S Small Business Administration’s (SBA) announcement that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is closed, we are joining with the Brewers Association in a renewed call to action to Congress to pass that Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act. This important legislation would add an additional $60 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and dramatically increase the reach of this grant program.
The BA has made it easy for you to contact your members of congress. Click here to have your voice heard!
The Department of Health has released some updated guidance for all non-health care industries for on-going prevention responsibilities, orders and directives that remain in place, and how to respond and work with public health in the event of a COVID-19 case or outbreak at their establishment.
Most of the guidance is recommendations only and any required activities are noted as such. You can find the updated guidance here.
Governor Inslee released a statement yesterday afternoon reaffirming that businesses may mostly return to business-as-usual effective today Wednesday, June 30th. Updated guidance was also released. You can read more about the Governor’s announcement in his accompanying press release.
Indoor and outdoor guidance effective June 30
Effective 12:01 AM on June 30, all industry sectors previously covered by guidance in the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery or the Safe Start Reopening Plan may return to usual capacity and operations, with limited exceptions for large indoor events (any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an indoor, enclosed space.)
- Vaccine verification/negative testing: For Breweries please see guidance below specific to employers in our industry
- Capacity limitations: No restrictions in restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, theaters etc. (except large indoor events)
- For Breweries, this includes the return use of our bar areas!
- Physical distancing: No requirements
- Facial coverings: Not required for vaccinated individuals, unless the business chooses to require them
- Travelers: Follow CDC recommendations
Guidance Specific to Employers Regarding Fully Vaccinated vs. Not, including Masks, Methods for Vaccine Verification, and More
Requirements for places of employment issued by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries have been updated here. Please read these carefully and thoroughly! This resource includes:
- Detailed options for fully vaccinated workers to go without a mask
- Methods for verification of worker vaccination status
- Note: Employers must be able to show the process used to verify employee vaccination status. However, they do not need to keep an actual copy of the employee’s vaccination records. Acceptable types of verification include:
- Vaccine card or photo of vaccine card
- Documentation from a health care provider
- State immunization information system record
- A hard copy or electronically signed self-attestation from the employee.
- Choices workers have to continue to mask up
- And other updated guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job and help employers meet their obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
We will be sure to provide any additional reopening updates from the Governor’s office and LCB, should more info become available before June 30th. Here’s a recap from last week:
Governor Inslee reaffirmed that WA businesses will reopen on June 30, or sooner if WA residents reach a 70% vaccination rate. The governor also provided an update on requirements once the state does fully reopen. It is expected that these new updates will include the following:
- Masks will continue to be required for unvaccinated people in public places
- All other restrictions such as 6-foot social distancing, sanitation, food menu requirements, and venue capacity (with one exception for large indoor events) will be lifted
Large indoor events with more than 10,000 people confined to indoor space will be capped at 75%. Attendees will no longer be required to follow 6-foot distancing, but they will need to continue wearing masks.
Smaller venues can fill to 100% capacity effective immediately if all attendees are fully vaccinated.
Congress recently introduced the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, legislation that would add an additional $60 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was created by Congress to help hospitality businesses that experienced major revenue losses due to COVID-19. The Brewers Association and WBG are encouraging breweries to support this legislation.
To date, Congress has allotted $28.6 billion in funding to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. It is a good start but not nearly enough to provide relief to all the businesses that applied to the program. More funding is needed to ensure that there is equal treatment among all the businesses that qualify for funds. Ask your legislators to co-sponsor and pass the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there have been 372,000 applications since the program began in early May, representing over $76 billion in requested funds, far surpassing the initial amount of funding provided by Congress. It is critical that more funding be provided to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Hospitality businesses like breweries were severely impacted by COVID-19 and are still working to recover from the impact of the past 15 months.
Every brewery that qualifies for and applied for the funds should receive them, but that can only happen if the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act is passed.
It only takes a few minutes to complete the Brewers Association’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act contact Congress form. Please use your voice to let Congress know that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund needs to be replenished!
12/30/2020 – Indoor Dining Ban Extended Through January 11th: Governor Inslee announced a one-week extension of the current “Stay Safe-Stay Healthy” proclamation that includes a ban on indoor dining. No other changes were made to the current order, aside from the expiration date, which is now January 11th. Current restrictions can be found here and outdoor seating requirements, here.
The Governor also indicated that an updated reopening plan is currently being developed to “provide a pathway for businesses and workers impacted by the order to reopen safely.” The updated plan will be released next week. Our guild has been in active talks with those developing the reopening plan, communicating breweries’ needs, and looking for solutions that will allow you to reopen safely. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about what the plan will include.
12/21/2020 – Congress Agrees on COVID Relief Package, Makes Current Reduced Excise Tax Rates Permanent:
Some great news out of DC to start this week: The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) is included in the year-end omnibus and COVID relief package agreement that is poised to clear congress and be signed into law, imminently.
With the pending passage of this legislation, the current reduced federal beer excise tax rates will be made permanent! Not only will brewers not see federal excise tax rates increase by 100% at the beginning of 2021, small and independent brewers will now have peace of mind that the recalibrated rates are permanent and not subject to yearly renewal efforts.
Thank you to everyone out there who has contributed to this effort by engaging your members of congress, responding to our many calls to action, and to those of you who have traveled to DC over the years in efforts to get this important tax reform for small brewers!
We want to send a big thank you and acknowledgment to the Brewers Association for all of their excellent work and leadership securing tax relief for our nation’s brewers. If you are not yet a member, we encourage you join now, as their work is more critical than ever.
Here’s a full federal update, including important information on the agreed upon COVID relief package, from Brewers Association Federal Affairs Director, Katie Marisic.
We will continue to closely monitor movement toward passage in DC and provide any new info as it becomes available.
12/8/2020 –Current COVID-19 Restrictions Extended Through January 4th – What We’re Doing, How You Can Help, and Brewery Resources:
Today, Governor Inslee announced the extension of current operating restrictions for breweries, restaurants, bars, wineries, distilleries, and other impacted industries. The current restrictions on indoor dining will remain in effect for another three weeks. There are no changes to the current restrictions beyond the extension of the expiration date. Current restrictions can be found here and outdoor seating requirements, here.
We know this comes at a terrible time of year for our brewery member owners and employees. Our craft brewing industry – and the hospitality industry as a whole – needs immediate relief. Here’s what we’re doing and how you can help.
WA Department of Commerce Grants – Another $50 Million Allocated: We have been working closely with the Governor’s office and the WA Department of Commerce to ensure that breweries are included and prioritized in eligibility for small business COVID-19 relief grants. During today’s Governor’s press conference, Commerce Director Lisa Brown announced an addition $50 million in grants – for a total of $100 million – will be made available to industries hit the hardest, including breweries. If you have not already applied, you’ll want to get your app in before December 11. Apply here.
Contact Your State Legislators: The 2021 Legislative Session is set to convene January 11th and we are working diligently to lay the groundwork for economic and regulatory relief for our industry and to defend our industry from any proposals that would further economically harm small WA breweries.
We are partnering with the WA Hospitality Association to collect your stories to share with legislators in our efforts to secure relief. Click here to share your story with your state legislators and ensure WA breweries are not left behind in the 2021 Legislative Session. The link will take you to options for brewery owners/operators, employees, and customers- please share far and wide to get our stories out!
Federal Response: Our guild is working under the lead of the Brewers Association to call on Congress to act immediately to provide a variety of relief measures for small and independent craft breweries. We are actively advocating for federal coronavirus relief, including Payroll Protection Program forgivable loans, the RESTAURANTS Act (breweries are included in the legislation), tax credits for unmerchantable beer, and more.
We’re also urgently calling on Congress to extend or make permanent the current federal beer excise tax rate, which is set to expire on December 31st. If Congress does not act swiftly, breweries could see their federal excises tax rate increase 100% as early as January. You can urge your members of congress to take action by completing this easy form.
Guild COVID-19 Resources for Brewery Owners and Employees: These are extremely challenging times for our member brewery owners and employees. We are here to advocate for you and support you. This WBG COVID-19 Resource Page contains information on deliveries, outdoor service, unemployment, mental health, hospitality employee relief funds, and more.
12/2/2020 – Working WA Small Business Grant Portal for Applications – Apply before December 11, 2020
10/30/2020 – The WA Department of Health released a document detailing ventilation and air quality best practices for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. To learn more about ways you can improve ventilation and air quality at your brewery, click here.
10/13/2020 – Today, Governor Inslee announced that the remaining 5 counties currently in Modified Phase 1 (Chelan, Douglas, Yakima, Benton, and Franklin) will move to Phase 2, effective immediately.
The complete and most current Safe Start guidance for restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, and taverns can be found here.
9/11/2020 – Special Occasion License/Virtual Non-Profit Auctions Compliance: You may be seeing an increase in donation requests, as non-profits get creative with fundraising and move more and more to virtual events. Many non-profits may not be aware that a Special Occasion License is still needed to sell or auction alcohol – even for virtual events. The LCB has released these helpful guidelines for virtual auctions vs online auctions.
8/20/2020 – Important: Updated Food Menu Guidance to Resume Indoor Seating at Breweries, here. This week, the LCB released new guidelines for food menu requirements for indoor service at breweries. In addition to the menu requirements, all other Safe Start restaurant industry guidelines apply. You will find the full industry guidance, here.
7/17/2020 – Yakima/Benton/Franklin County Update
6/5/2020 – WA Safe Start Plan Overview
May 11, 2020 – Phase 2 Guidance for Brewery/Restaurant/Tavern Reopenings: Phase 2 includes all breweries, regardless of license type. In order to reopen in Phase 2, businesses must comply with the outlined requirements. A link to Phase 2 requirements and a memo outlining what types of businesses are included can be found here.
4/23/2020 – Washington’s Recovery Plan information, here. Breweries, deemed essential services under the order, may continue the following operations as approved under the original order:
- Breweries may produce and distribute beer
- Breweries may make beer to-go sales, including growlers, curbside sales and deliveries. For curbside sales and deliveries, please complete and submit a “Temporary Activities Form” to the WSLCB. The form can be found here, under curbside and delivery service.
- No consumption can take place on a brewery premise, inside or outside
- Breweries must implement rules and procedures to help facilitate social distancing of 6 feet
Many monthly and quarterly employer tax filings and/or payments have been deferred. Here’s a quick round-up of the latest status on tax filings.
WA DOR Taxes: Certain payments have been deferred. You are still required to file, even if you don’t pay. More info found here.
WA Beer Excise Tax (WSLCB): Penalties for late payments waived through May 4th (retroactive to end of February). You’ll still need to file. Info here.
Federal Beer Excise Tax (TTB): 90-day postponement for filings and payment expires on July 1, 2020. More info here.
Quarterly Unemployment Taxes (ESD): Unemployment taxes and reports have not been deferred and must be filed and paid, however, you can request a penalty waiver here if you are unable to pay.
Worker Compensation Premium (L&I): L&I is now offering a L&I Tax Grace Period for premium payments, along with payment plans for employers facing financial difficulties during the pandemic. Under this new offer, employers can request for their payment to be deferred for up to 90 days, or can ask for a 90-day payment plan. Either way, the delayed payments will be penalty- and interest-free. Payments for the first quarter of 2020 are due no later than April 30. To be eligible for this coronavirus-related assistance, employers must contact their L&I account manager if they know they won’t be able to make their quarterly premium payment. Account managers are available by phone at 360-902-4817. Click here for more info and filing links.
Best Practices for Implementing Social Distancing here.
Personal Protective Equipment – How you can help
COVID-19 Renewals Relief for Liquor Licensees Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic: On February 28, 2021, Governor Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB 5272) into law. This law waives annual renewal fees for 12 months (April 1, 2021 to March 30, 2022). Relevant license types for breweries in this legislation include: microbrewery, domestic brewery, wine/beer restaurant, wine/beer/spirits restaurant, tavern, and caterers. Additionally, licensees that temporarily closed between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, and did not pay a renewal fee during that time, will not have to pay an additional fee in order to become an active licensee again. Please contact Licensing Customer Service at the WSLCB for questions about the above information: (360) 664-1600 – Option 1, or at email@example.com.
Direct Shipping via common carrier (UPS, FedEx) to WA Consumers: WA breweries can apply for “internet sales” privileges and once approved, can ship beer to consumers residing in WA State. Fill out the attached Added Activities form LCB, requesting Internet Sales privileges. Orders must comply with the rules found here.
Extending Outside Service and/or Changing Floor Plans to comply with Phase 2 occupancy and social distancing requirements: If you are temporarily altering your floor plan to accommodate the 6 foot rule (moving tables around, etc) you do not need to get approval from the LCB. If you are looking to extend into new outdoor spaces (sidewalks, parking lots, adjacent picnic areas), you need to submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LCB Webinar Recap & Link: On 5/19/2020, WBG co-hosted a Phase 2 Reopenings webinar with the WA Hospitality Association and WA Wine Institute, featuring speakers from the Liquor & Cannabis Board. Chief of Enforcement, Justin Nordhorn, and Director of Licensing, Becky Smith, covered a wide range of topics including bar seating, changes to floor plans, extending outdoor seating, curbside orders and deliveries, what to do with expired beer, and more. You can watch the full webinar, here.
Keg Registrations – No Longer Required for Breweries – Per LCB: With the passage of HB 2412, Domestic breweries licensed under RCW 66.24.240 and microbreweries licensed under RCW 66.24.244 are not subject to RCW 66.28.200 when selling or offering for sale kegs or other containers containing four gallons or more of malt liquor of the licensee’s own production, or when selling, offering for sale, or leasing kegs or other containers that will hold four gallons or more of liquid. This requirement is not in effect yet, but due to the impacts of COVID-19 LCB will not enforce this during the period before the official effective date of HB 2412, which is June 11, 2020.
The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development has been allocated $1.5 million to help qualifying small businesses located in Seattle with 5 employees or less
Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to help small companies located within a few blocks of its Seattle headquarters
PPP Loans– SBA Begins Accepting Some Applications on 1/15/2021: The SBA is accepting PPP loan applications through smaller lenders beginning today, January 15th. Applications through all participating lenders will be accepted beginning January 19th. Earlier this week, we hosted a PPP loan Q&A with Allied Member, Baker Tilly. During the session, Baker Tilly share information about their loan application portal. Most breweries submitting applications through the Baker Tilly portal would not be subject to any fees. For more information, visit this link.
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act Signed into Law: 6/3/2020 – The legislation addresses many concerns brought forward by our industry and will provide flexibility for small businesses by: Easing loan forgiveness terms by lowering the payroll spend requirements from 75% to 60%. Extending the PPP covered period from the current June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Extending the forgiveness period (currently 8 weeks) to the earlier of: (1) 24 weeks after the origination of the loan or (2) December 31, 2020. Extending the safe harbor deadline to rehire employees and restore pay to avoid reductions in forgiveness from the current June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020. For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, visit the Brewers Association (BA) website, here.
SBA Releases New Guidance for Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness: 5/22/2020 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released additional PPP guidance this week in the form of the Loan Forgiveness Application, which includes some key definitions and instructions for loan forgiveness. Those of you who have received loans, can find more info here.
Congress Approves Additional PPP Funding: 4/23/2020 – The House passed another coronavirus package that includes additional funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, as well as $75 billion for hospitals and disease testing. The PPP will receive an additional $310 billion, with $60 billion specifically earmarked for small lenders. The parameters for the program have not changed and can be found here. It is unclear when applications will be reopened. We are monitoring closely and will provide updates as they come. An alternative option for some businesses might be the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program. Here’s an article that provides a good overview of both programs.
SBA Assistance for Breweries During the COVID-19 Crisis: What’s Available, webinar hosted by the Brewers Association
Dept of Employment Security emergency rules and a Q&A sheet for employers and employees impacted by the coronavirus
Employment Security Dept & Dept of Commerce resources and tools as they become available here
Believe in Beer Fund: The Brewers Association has partnered with Bottleshare, a fundraising non-profit dedicated to the craft beverage community, to create the Believe in Beer Fund to support breweries and state brewers guilds impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund is open for breweries and state guilds from across the country to apply for financial assistance for operations expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities. Beginning April 24 and through the end of American Craft Beer Week on May 17, individuals can contribute to the fund by visiting GoFundMe.com. Relief funds will be available to breweries and state guilds that demonstrate immediate financial need due to COVID-19 and meet the outlined criteria.
Brewers Association Best Practices for Beer To-Go Sales, The Brewers Association put together guidelines for breweries to follow when selling beer to-go from their establishments. This guidance includes best practices for maintaining sanitary practices and social distancing in light of COVID-19. Learn more here.
Brewers Association write up on $2 trillion stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and what it might mean for your brewery here.
BA offering all nonmember breweries a temporary membership free of charge, also not expiring any current brewery members at this time. Contact email@example.com to join and gain access to COVID 19 related updates and online resources.