Synagogues, restaurants react to first weekend in Phase 2

VIDEO: Synagogues, restaurants react to first weekend in Phase 2

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The McDonalds have waited for months to enjoy a bite to eat while overlooking the bay.

"It’s our first outing that we can actually come and sit and have a lunch,” Don McDonald said.

"I feel like I have a break from cooking,” Lori McDonald said.

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Phase 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan means restaurants, like Budd Bay Café in Olympia, can seat and serve customers at up to 50% capacity.

"Everybody was really happy to be here. The customers like cried and were like, ‘Thank you so much for being open,’ and it was really, really exciting and everyone is really happy,” said Linnea Bell, Budd Bay Café general manager.

Outdoor tables at the restaurant stayed full all day.

After people left, workers were quick to clean by wiping down chairs, tabletops and umbrellas.

“As the customers come in we are adjusting, you know, we are learning, we’re learning now to live in a different world,” Bell said.

Under Phase 2, restrictions were also loosened for religious and faith-based organizations, which can now host up to 50 people.

At Temple Beth Hatfiloh, they’re not rushing into anything.

"While we have spiritual needs and desires, we also know that we have those health needs and safety protocols, and we want to honor that,” said Rabbi Seth Goldstein said.

They typically meet Friday evenings for service, but that hasn’t happened in weeks. Instead, Goldstein’s been hosting worship from his home.

"It’s allowed people to connect in new and different ways, and we’ve become accustomed to that reality,” he said.

Bringing the congregation back presents challenges, which is why they’ve put together a task force to help with 6-foot distancing, sanitization, seating and more, but Goldstein said a limited capacity means they might have to turn people away.

“There’s a lot of issues aside from the logistical ones in terms of opening up, but almost the ethical ones, right?” he said.

That is why they’ll continue connecting virtually for a while and gather once they feel ready.

"It’ll be really sweet once we’re able to come back together again,” Goldstein said.