Are Washington Restaurants Closing Again

Danielle Fletcher
• Friday, 18 December, 2020
• 7 min read

He and his wife Trudy discussed new concerns about the pandemic in a public address Thursday, urging all Washingtonians to cancel holiday gatherings through the end of the year. In King County alone, there has been an average of more than 400 cases a day and hospitalizations have increased dramatically over the past week.

(Source: www.wpxi.com)


Nine months into a pandemic, restaurants and bars in Washington have been in this spot before, but no doubt the rollbacks will have a significant impact. Inslee addressed the economic toll COVID-19 measures have taken, and committed an additional $50 million to help businesses and workers with a combination of grants and loans, although details weren’t revealed yet.

Jay Inslee on Sunday announced new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings for the next four weeks as the state continues to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases. Starting at 11:59 p.m. Monday, a host of businesses must close their indoor services, including fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums.

While weddings and funerals can still occur, starting Tuesday, ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and receptions are prohibited. Under the new rules, only outdoor visits will be allowed at long-term care facilities and religious services will be capped at either 25% indoor occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

All of Washington’s 39 counties have been paused in either the second or third phase of a four-stage reopening plan that began in early May to lift restrictions on businesses and other activities. Wilcox said the Legislature should be involved in help for small businesses, and Senate Republican leader Mark Schooler issued a written statement calling for a special session.

In recent days, Inslee and health officials had warned that new restrictions were likely in order to slow the trajectory of new cases and to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. On Thursday night, Inslee and his wife, Trudy, made a statewide televised plea to the public to forego gatherings and holiday travel plans.

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And on Friday, Inslee joined the governors of California and Oregon in issuing travel advisories urging people entering or returning to their states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, warned that the restrictions put at risk the jobs of more than 100,000 employees, right before the holidays.

“At every step, our industry has partnered with the governor’s office and public health agencies, and the data shows our efforts are working,” he said in a written statement Sunday, noting that less than 1% of coronavirus cases have been traced to restaurants. As the United States and Canada wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic, states and provinces continually change restrictions on restaurant dining.

This state-by-state guide offers a status check on whether restaurants are allowed to be open for dining in (indoors and out), or whether delivery and takeout are still the norm. Keep in mind that local (county, city, and town) guidance may differ from the state, and that many restaurants may not reopen right away even if they are able.

Takeout and delivery remains an option in all areas, though, and links are provided in each region on how and what to order. This guide is compiled from online resources and is updated regularly, though all reopen dates and guidance are subject to change as local authorities reassess and update conditions.

The proclamation was made after states and cities nationwide took similar action, including the shut down of Las Vegas casinos and restaurants and bars in New York. Grocery stores and pharmacies can operate as normal, and other retail outlets must limit the number of customers shopping at any given time.

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“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus,” Inslee wrote in a statement. An hour after the announcement, Jesse Pyle's sat at the bar of his restaurant, Fire Artisan Pizza.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward said in a statement Sunday night that the closures are “extremely sobering.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tightened its guidelines Sunday to recommend that gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled for the next eight weeks.

At the Onion, owners already had changed hours and began limiting seating capacity to comply with “social distancing” recommendations. In a Facebook post, Perry Street Brewing said it supported Inslee’s decision, saying it hoped to see customers again when its taps start flowing.

Chad White, who owns Zone Blanca ceviche bar and three other restaurants, said he was working on options to serve customers. Heisted also owns several restaurants under the Eat Good Group, including the Wandering Table, Gilded Unicorn and Yards Truncheon.

The Union gym in Spokane decided earlier Sunday to temporarily cancel its workout sessions for two weeks. “We want to put the health of our athletes, team and overall community at the forefront,” the Union posted on its Facebook page.

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Other retailers, including Urban Outfitters, Nike, Free People and Patagonia, closed stores over the past week. Inslee said more details on regulations in King County, the center of the outbreak in Washington, are expected to come Monday morning.

Spokane County’s total number of confirmed cases remained at three following Saturday’s announcement by health officials of its first positive test result, but officials also said unassigned cases could be linked to Spokane. Two new deaths were announced Sunday, both from the elder care center in Kirkland that has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

According to the Health Department, 9,451 tests have returned negative in the state, compared to the 769 positive cases. The Spokane Regional Health District expects to see more confirmed cases as testing becomes more widespread.

In others, dining rooms remained closed, while outdoor seating opened to the public, with social distancing measures in place. Some states offered explicit guidelines for reopening, while others left life-or-death decision-making up to individual restaurant owners.

“Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news,” he said during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. In East Lansing, Michigan, 107 people who visited the same bar over the course of a week tested positive for COVID-19.

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This often means reducing capacities to earlier limits, or closing down a restaurant’s seated bar or buffet station. On June 15, nightclubs and bars in Ada County, which were previously allowed to reopen, are closing after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On June 30, bars that do not serve food, previously allowed reopening, closed after a spike in COVID-19 cases. On July 1, bars, previously allowed to reopen for indoor dining, reverted to takeout and outdoor drinking, after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Bars in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, previously allowed continuing indoor service, will revert to takeout-only on July 31. In Davidson County, bars that derive a majority of their revenue from alcohol sales also closed, and will not reopen for at least two weeks.

On July 13, restaurants and bars across the state closed to dine-in service, and reverted to a delivery and takeout model, after a spike in COVID-19 cases. On July 22, the mayor of Baltimore announced that restaurants in the city must close to dine-in service by the end of the week, after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On August 27, bars, breweries, and nightclubs in Polk, Line, Johnson, Story, Dallas and Black Hawk counties closed to dine-in service, after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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(Source: www.valleycentral.com)

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