Some Spokane restaurants won’t open for indoor dining under Phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane is one week into Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Healthy Washington plan. This allows restaurants and bars to serve people indoors at 25% capacity. However, not all restaurants have decided to take advantage of this.

Boots Bakery closed during both shutdowns since March. Each time it reopened, owner Alison Collins decided to keep indoor dining closed.

“We get probably about 20 to 30 calls a day asking if we’re opening in for dine in,” Collins said. “It’s obviously disappointing to people when we say no and explaining that we just don’t have the space to make it happen. ”

Collins said it also comes down to money and staffing. She had 18 people on her staff and has now cut down to just the family.

At 25% capacity, Boots Bakery can hold 10 people. Collins said her business is popular for simply hanging out, a blind date and where people come to write.

“I can’t ask people to leave. Do we give people a time limit? You can sit for a half an hour and then it’s the next 10 people,” she explained. “Logistically it just doesn’t work for us.”

Collins has never thought about closing, but she also never thought Washington would be in this position for so long.

“When this first happened, I didn’t anticipate it being a year plus,” she said. “I mean, we knew it would a long haul, but not over a year.”

Other restaurants have also decided to not reopen indoor dining. Chaps Diner and Bakery posted on Instagram that it won’t reopen until Phase 3, or 50% capacity. The post said, “twenty-five percent is not sustainable, but it’s the start of a journey back.”

 

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Another restaurant, Hunt, has been closed since November. It reopened for take-out only on big holidays.

“It’s devastating blows to us,” said Jed Conklin, owner of Hunt. “It takes time, energy, effort and most importantly lots of money [to reopen].”

Conklin is preparing to reopen Hunt on Wednesday, though it can only hold 25 people under the limited capacity.

“We built our menu and our staffing in a way that we think that we’ll be at least somewhat profitable at 25% and not a lot of restaurants are,” he said. “You do what you have to do. You adapt or die and so that’s what we’ve been doing. That’s the 2020 slogan of the year, I think.”

Like many of us, both Conklin and Collins are ready to move past this.

“We’re ready for everybody to be healthy and happy and eating burgers and drinking beers again,” Conklin said.

“We will have the most giant party as soon as it’s allowed. I mean really, food and drink for everyone,” Collins explained. “We’re so grateful. We couldn’t have done it without such loyal, loyal customers.”

Boots Bakery could open indoor dining whenever 50% capacity becomes an option. However, that decision won’t be made just yet.

As far as Phase 3 and the potential for 50% capacity, this plan isn’t known yet. Governor Jay Inslee announced the state has “not identified” what Phase 3 would look like during a press conference last Tuesday.

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