Gov. Inslee lifts COVID-19 restrictions statewide; how local business owners are responding

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee is easing restrictions statewide amid the pandemic, giving movie theaters the green light to reopen.

It’s been a long stretch for Spokane businesses—many owners were expecting these shut downs to last a few weeks, not several months.

Kainoa Bright, owner of Beerocracy in Spokane’s Garland District, says this still isn’t enough-he makes most of his money between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. Pushing back the closing time by an hour is still frustrating to him.

Local businesses are crawling along the path forward.

“Every single one of them up and down Garland avenue is going to fail if we don’t start getting things going,” said Bright.

He was happy to hear that Inslee lifted some restrictions this afternoon.

“We are hopeful that this will allow restaurants to boost business in a safe way,” Inslee said at a press conference on Tuesday.

RELATED: Washington loosening COVID-19 restrictions for some restaurants, libraries and movies theaters

Instead of closing at 10, bars in Phase 2 counties like Spokane can now serve alcohol until 11. While the extra hour helps a bit, Bright says it is still not enough.

“We make our money between 9 and 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Bright. “That’s because everybody is out, everybody wants to socialize.”

Bars and restaurants can also seat six people per table instead of five.

“We are eliminating the restriction that was in place that required you to only dine with people in your household,” said Inslee.

Movie theaters can also open with 25-percent capacity, with masks and social distancing required. Libraries can also open and realtors can host open houses, with only five guests at a time.

“We’re doing this because we want to recognize the progress that we’ve made,” said Inslee, “we want to celebrate it.”

Bright isn’t celebrating quite yet. He wants to see more of those restrictions lifted—and soon.

“We’re months in,” said Bright, “months in, and I mean a lot of businesses already in Spokane closed down for good.”

Inslee’s opponent in the gubernatorial election, Loren Culp, says if he wins this November, he will lift all restrictions on day one. It’s an issue that will likely come up during Wednesday’s debate.

RELATED: Governor Jay Inslee is easing restrictions statewide amid the pandemic, giving movie theaters the green light to reopen