THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — It’s been months since going out for a drink or a bite to eat has been an option for residents in Thurston County.
That changed Wednesday in Thurston County when the State Department of Health approved the county’s application to enter Phase 2.
"The restaurant industry is so much about hospitality. It’s great to see our familiar faces, it’s great to see newcomers, and it’s just exciting to do what we’re so good at and get back into what we like to do,” said Daniel Compean, State and Central General Manager.
Under Phase 2, hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, dog groomers and more can reopen.
"I can go get a haircut now. I feel pretty dirty, it’s going to be great,” said Pat Higgs.
Restaurants, like Well 80 Brewhouse, can reopen too.
“It’s like, real, it’s here. I don’t know, we’ve sort of gotten used to the take out thing, but it’s exciting to be able to have the opportunity to get people back in the restaurant,” said Chris Knudson, Well 80 Brewhouse owner. “This has been a terrible time for a lot of people, so to be able to start moving in that direction is encouraging, it’s exciting.”
Well, 80 Brewhouse isn’t open for dine-in yet but plans to reopen soon.
State and Central moved faster and reopened the restaurant Wednesday. However, things look different inside. The menu is limited, there are fewer tables and plexiglass blocks the bar.
"I’ve been a server for a long time, and we’re just happy to be here,” said Compean.
Customers are also thrilled.
"It’s been, what, two months now? We’ve all done our part, stayed home, stayed healthy, and it’s going to be great to sit down and be comfortable again,” said Higgs.
There are limitations. Restaurants can only seat up to 50% capacity and social distancing means tables must be spaced out.
The City of Olympia is trying to help by letting retailers and restaurants use sidewalks.
"We were able to make it easier for restaurants to expand, especially with the nicer weather, so they can stay with their 50% capacity for in-house dining, but still kind of have enough capacity to move out onto the streets and hopefully that will help them with their bottom line and keeping people employed,” said Mayor Cheryl Selby, City of Olympia.
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