On Monday night, Gov. Jay Inslee banned all social gatherings and ordered Washington residents to “stay at home” — effective immediately, and for at least the next two weeks. Inslee also mandated the closure of all non-essential businesses through at least April 8.

Restaurants and bars throughout the state had previously been directed to close their dining rooms through March 31. This new order extends that for at least a week.

However, Inslee’s office also released a detailed list of “critical” businesses that are allowed to stay open.

Experts say Inslee’s stay-at-home order will add to Seattle economy’s coronavirus-induced pain

From a “food” standpoint, these are some of the most consumer-facing types of businesses that can remain open:

  • Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies
  • Liquor stores that sell food
  • Farmers’ markets (though, the city of Seattle suspended permits for farmers markets from March 16 through April 13, and it’s still unclear as to whether they will be reinstated.)
  • Food banks
  • Farm and produce stands
  • Big box stores that sell groceries and essentials (for instance, Target, Fred Meyer or Walmart)
  • Restaurants — though strictly for take-out and delivery (here’s our list of restaurants still open for those purposes)
  • Food manufacturers and their suppliers (for instance, beverage production, shellfish hatcheries, brewery and wine-making facilities, coffee production facilities, artisan food production, cheese plants, milk plants, livestock and poultry facilities, etc.)
  • Companies that offer food curbside distribution and delivery services (for instance, Peach, GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates)


For those wondering, here’s the full list of food and agriculture-related businesses that can stay open:

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products, including but not limited to grocery stores, corner stores and convenience stores, including liquor stores that sell food, farmers’ markets, food banks, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, similar food retail establishments, big box stores that sell groceries and essentials.
  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – including food preparation, carry-out and delivery food employees.
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; shellfish facilities including hatcheries and nurseries and growing areas; brewery and wine-making facilities; coffee production facilities; artisan food production; and the production of food packaging.
  • Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging and distribution; manufacturing, packaging and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically.
  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs.
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution (including curbside distribution and deliveries), including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers, blockchain managers, distribution.
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail.
  • Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees.
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments
  • Workers supporting cannabis retail and dietary supplement retail
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments and other agricultural production aids
  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce.
  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper and other wood products
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

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