Local business owners call on Spokane-area lawmakers, asking Gov. Inslee to rethink latest restrictions

SPOKANE, Wash. — Several local business owners are calling on legislative leaders to speak out against Governor Inslee’s newly imposed statewide restrictions. 

Seven Democratic state lawmakers on the west side recently wrote a letter to Gov. Inslee, asking him to reconsider the recent ban on indoor dining and instead impose stricter safety guidelines so restaurants will be allowed to continue operating. That’s according to daily newspaper The Everett Herald

Now, local business and restaurant owners are asking Spokane-area legislators like Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Rep. Marcus Riccelli to hop on board. 

The letter is signed by the owners of Spokane’s Calico Kitchen and Nectar Catering, along with the president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Inland Pacific Chapter Inc., and the president of Employment Screening Services, Inc. 

“It is far past time for the Legislature, as representatives of the people, to convene in special session and weigh in on the dizzying array of never-ending proclamations, orders, and plans coming out of the Governor’s Office and state agencies,” it reads in part. 

The letter asks local leaders to focus on the economic impacts of COVID-19 alongside the negative health impacts. 

“Time is of the essence,” it reads. “There are both lives and livelihoods on the line.”

Inslee’s recently imposed restrictions ban restaurants from offering indoor dining until at least Dec. 14, and retail services must operate at 25% capacity. The Washington Hospitality Association has predicted nearly 100,000 people will lose their jobs ahead of the holidays with these restrictions in place.

4 News Now reached out to all three lawmakers included in the release.

State Sen. Andy Billig said:

“Like so many other in our community, I am concerned about the health and economic impacts of this pandemic. With the current spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations, it is more important than ever to observe the health and safety measures put into place by state and local health officials. Because these restrictions cause economic hardship for businesses and workers, we have implemented numerous business and family assistance programs, including a substantial new assistance package that will be announced tomorrow.  

Lastly, I received this press release from a member of the media. The authors did not send it to us and did not contact me in any way. I find it odd that they are asking me to do something but decide to communicate via a press release rather than reaching out to me directly. I would be glad to talk with them.”

READ: Gov. Inslee announces new statewide restrictions on dining, gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge 

READ: Washington Hospitality Assoc. fears 100,000 people will lose their jobs if further statewide restrictions take effect