‘Permanent plumbing’ now required for all Washington coffee and food stands

SPOKANE, Wash — The Washington State Department of Health is requiring all coffee and food stands, to have permanent plumbing.

In an update to their administrative code, stands are now required to have sinks with running water and bathrooms on-site.

“We have a hand-washing sink, but we don’t have the room for like a big giant washing sink,” said Gabby Tucker, manager of Sleeves and Straws Coffee Co on Boone and Division. “But we make room for our little three-sink we have right now.”

The Spokane Regional Health Department for decades has required stands to have plumbing. It’s also required plumbed bathrooms for employees. Those can be in a different building or even in a different store, as long as the store agrees and has the same hours as the stand.

Sleeves and Straws Coffee Co. would use the liquor and wine store’s bathrooms right next to their stand, but prefer the porta-potty they have instead.

“We don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of a different bathroom where everyone uses it,” Tucker said. “We just know ours is locked, padlocked, and it’s only us 5 that use it. It’s way better and way cleanlier, and we get it cleaned every week, literally every Tuesday, spot-on, every hour of that time.”

Porta-pottys may be an exception, but the decision is up to the Spokane Regional Health Department. If Sleeves and Straws were to sell however, the new owner would have to be in the same compliance, and may not be granted the exemption.

“We’re just going to play it by ear, and do what we do best, which is make coffee, and make our customers very happy,” Tucker said.

The new code was added in March. Businesses have until September to comply.