Businesses anxious for Gov. Inslee to announce Phase 3 plans

SPOKANE, Wash. — Aside from vaccines, some elected officials in Washington are frustrated with the state’s path forward.

That’s because there isn’t a clear one as Washington sits in Phase 2.

Republicans in Washington’s House and Senate are frustrated with Governor Inslee for not laying out a plan for Phase 3 yet. Today, they laid out their own plan for what the next phases could look like.

They’re asking for more customers to be allowed in these restaurants and small shops. Over the past year, we’ve visited the once-bustling block of Main Avenue — which serves as a microcosm of the pandemic and its devastating closures.

The businesses still here, all these months later, say they at least deserve a clear plan from the governor.

We’re slowly getting back to those normal days — people walking around downtown Spokane, some stopping in these small shops for a beer, others sitting down for lunch.

But, as COVID-19 data keeps improving, many are wondering what it will take to actually get Washington back to normal.

“A huge frustration for me is just as a business owner not knowing what is next, when is next,” said Dan Dvorak, co-owner of Black Label Brewing Company. “When are we actually going to move onto something different?”

Dvorak and the other co-owners at Black Label managed to keep their doors open during a year of restrictions. Like Washington Republicans, they want Gov. Inslee to at least lay out a plan to move forward.

“When there is no plan, there is no hope,” said Washington Sen. Lynda Wilson.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and several other Eastern Washington mayors agree, in a letter sent to Gov. Inslee, they’re asking for things like 50% capacity in businesses. The state’s Senate Republicans sent out a similar plan, arguing the entire state should move to Phase 3 now.

“We’re providing a plan, hopefully he adopts it,” said Senate GOP leader Sen. John Braun. “Historically he may not be as friendly as we’d like.”

Gov. Inslee was in fact not as friendly as they’d like, slamming the proposal this morning.

RELATED: ‘It is not a serious proposal’; Governor’s Office slams WA Senate GOP’s Phase 3 plan

His office sent us a lengthy statement, saying “This is not a plan. It’s political rhetoric with bullet points.”

His office says this plan would “undoubtedly lead to a rebound in COVID activity and more people would suffer as a result.”

The businesses on Main Avenue are excited about the customers that come with Phase 2, but feel like their shops have plenty of space to let more customers in.

“We don’t want to put anyone at risk,” said Dvorak. “We want to follow the rules, but at the same time to really make ends meet, 50% would be really nice, you know?”

The state tells us it is still not ready to announce any details about Phase 3.

RELATED: Mayor Woodward sends Phase 3 proposal to Gov. Inslee