Determine Occupant Load

Under Governor Inslee’s Phase 2 reopening plan, certain businesses can reopen but at reduced capacity. If your business has a posted occupant load, or a Certificate of Occupancy indicating your occupant load, use that to determine the reduced capacity per the order. 

If your business does not have a posted occupant load and is trying to determine what the occupant load is in order to comply with the reduced capacity requirements, please review information listed below.

If you have access to the permit or design plan documents for your business, the front page of the documents typically contains occupant load calculations.  If you do not have access to the permit or design documents, the following may help you determine the occupant load.

In areas without fixed seats, the occupant load is determined based on the use of the space. For example:

Areas with tables and chairs: 15 s.f./person
Example: Restaurant area of 3,000 s.f. (do not include kitchen and other “back of house” functions): 3,000/15 = 200 persons.
Phase 2 Reopening: Maximum 50% Capacity – no bar seating. In this example, the maximum capacity would be limited to 100 persons.
Retail (not including malls): 60 s.f./person
Example: Store area of 1,500 s.f. (do not include storeroom and other “back of house” functions): 1,500/60 = 25 persons
Phase 2 Reopening: Maximum 30% Capacity. In this example, the maximum occupancy would be 7 in addition to the employees. The Governor’s plan requires that the reduced occupant load is posted conspicuously at the store entrance.

Need additional help? An online occupant load estimator is available at: remember that this will provide the building and fire code occupant load that must be further reduced in accordance with the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening requirements.

Building and Fire Codes are used to determine the occupant load of buildings and spaces. The determination is used to ensure that there are enough exits, they are properly separated, and of sufficient width so that in an emergency occupants can safely evacuate. The reduced occupant load required by the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening reduces the normally allowable occupant load to help maintain proper physical distancing for health reasons.

For additional assistance from the Fire Marshal’s office, please complete this form and our staff will contact you.

Are you still unsure of your occupant load or need a replacement Certificate of Occupancy?
Submit this form and you will be contacted by the Fire Marshall’s office with additional information.