-A guide for Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start Reopening Plan
King County has received permission from the Washington State Secretary of Health to move into Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start plan, which would allow some businesses and activities to increase operations while limiting the number of people in the space, referred to as the “occupancy” in the reopening plan. The technical term is “occupant load.” See the approved Phase 2 plan here and the Governor’s reopening guidance here.
Methods for finding the occupant load for your space under the reopening plan:
- Posted occupancy. If you have a posted occupancy limit inside your business, use it as the baseline when calculating your reduced occupant load. Occupancy limit signs are posted in assembly spaces with an occupant load of 50 or more people, including many restaurants and taverns. To find your reduced occupant load allowed under the reopening plan, multiply your posted occupancy by the reduced occupancy level (in column D below) and check the Governor’s Business Activity Guidelines for more detailed information.
- Recent Permitting Materials. If you recently received a permit for tenant improvements in your space, the precise occupant load of your space may be available on the approved permit plans. If you still have a copy of the final building permit plans, this would likely be the easiest and fastest way to find the official number. You may also be able to find the approved plans by logging into SDCI’s project portal or by contacting the design professional for the permit.
- Estimate based on square footage. SDCI has developed the below matrix to help you estimate your normal occupant load and how many people are allowed in indoor or outdoor spaces under the reopening plan. Using Columns B and C to estimate your existing occupant load will likely result in a number lower than your permitted occupancy but is an option if you do not know your current occupant load.
|Estimating your existing occupant load||Finding your reopening occupancy
|Column A||Column B||Column C||Column D|
|Type of Business
(and link to WA State Business Activity Guidelines)
|Areas to Measure when Calculating Estimate||Normal Occupant Load Factor
(square feet per person)
|Phase 2 Reduced Occupancy Level|
– Outdoor dining areas
|Customer Dining Spaces||15||50%*|
|– Indoor dining areas||Customer Dining Spaces||15||50%*|
|– Bar seating||Customer Dining Spaces||15||not allowed|
|Retail (in-store)||Sales Floors||60||30%|
|Fitness studios (indoor)||Workout Spaces||50||30%*|
|Religious and Faith Orgs (indoor)||Spaces of Worship||15||25%|
|Personal Services||All indoor spaces||100||50%|
|Pet Grooming||All indoor spaces||100||50%|
|Professional Services||All indoor spaces||100||50%|
|Real Estate||All indoor spaces||100||50%|
Estimating your occupant load:
- Find the amount of floor space area indicated in Column B. You may be able to find the square footage for your space on your leasing agreement, in any floor plans you have, or on the Certificate of Occupancy for your space. If you cannot determine the square footage (s.f.) of your space in any documentation, you can measure (in feet) the length and width of the relevant areas. Multiply the measured length and width together to get the s.f. of a space.
- Divide the size of your space by the normal occupant load factor (Column B). You can round up to the nearest whole number.
Restaurant example: 1,000 s.f. dining area / 15 s.f. per person = Up to 67 people
Retail example: 1,000 s.f. sales floor / 60 s.f. per person = Up to 17 people
Finding your reduced occupant load allowed under the reopening plan:
- Multiply your normal occupant load by the Phase 2 reduced occupancy level (Column D).
Restaurant example: 67 people x 0.50 = Up to 34 people allowed
Retail example: 17 people x 0.30 = Up to 5 people allowed
- Check King County’s approved phase 2 plan and the Governor’s Business Activity Guidelines for more guidance and limitations on the number of people allowed in your business.
- Historical Permit Research. SDCI may be able to help you research historical permitting documents, however, permit records will take time to track down, and older, historical records may not be available. SDCI recommends using methods 1-3 above.
Questions about operating under Phase 2 in Seattle? Call the Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8090. In-language assistance is available. Questions about your normal occupant load? Submit them online at: http://web6.seattle.gov/dpd/LUQnA/?Type=2