SPOKANE, Wash. — They are a telltale sign of warmer weather in the Inland Northwest.
Ice cream trucks have already been making their way around Spokane neighborhoods, which has raised concerns from some residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
When KREM first reached out to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office on Monday regarding ice cream trucks and other mobile food vendors, a spokesperson said specific health guidance was not yet available. Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz was also unsure of guidelines for ice cream sales.
However, Inslee’s office said on Tuesday that ice cream trucks fall under the category of mobile food vendors. This means they cannot operate until Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, which could begin on June 1.
Restaurants and taverns are referenced in Phase 2 of the reopening plan, which calls for dining rooms with less than 50% of capacity, tables with no more than five people and no bar area seating.
Ice cream trucks fall under Inslee’s guidance for restaurants, spokesperson Mike Faulk said.
There is some confusion, though, regarding terminology. Faulk said a food truck in a fixed location is allowed to serve food right now for to-go service.
But food trucks that drive around neighborhoods and stop on-demand, including ice cream trucks, are considered “mobile food vendors,” Faulk said. These are not allowed until Phase 2.
Lutz said on Monday that he encourages those who are visiting ice cream trucks to follow guidance from health officials, including those related to hand-washing and wearing masks.