Airway Heights bar to open Wednesday in defiance of state order

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — The owners of Village Tavern in Airway Heights will open their doors Wednesday and pour drinks in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

Jean Moore, who co-owns the bar, said she hopes to inspire other businesses to do the same despite top health experts saying it’s too soon to reopen bars and restaurants completely.

“I believe that we could set a precedent for other bars that are concerned about opening up,” Moore said. “I really just don’t think we are the bad guys in all of this.”

Bars must remain closed during Phase 1 of the Safe Start plan. Inslee said the order is enforceable by law.

Non-essential businesses that don’t comply will first receive a warning. Business owners could have their license revoked on a second offense. As a last resort, Inslee said business owners could face criminal charges.

Moore said she has a lawyer and was told she would likely have a strong case against the state.

“He basically said they don’t have a foot to stand on. They are crushing your civil liberties,” Moore said.

While she plans to protest the order, Moore said she will still follow CDC guidelines and open with a lower capacity.

“The chairs, tables will be set up 6-feet apart. We’re going to encourage people to wear masks.” Moore said each table will have a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Moore posted the announcement on Facebook and some users said they plan to get a drink Wednesday. Starting Wednesday, she plans to open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. 7 days a week.

“If you really are terrified, stay home,” Moore said. “I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. I want you to come here because you love us and you love our place.”