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New limits on restaurants and bars start Thursday as Washington coronavirus cases rise

As COVID-19 cases surge throughout the state, Washington has put new limits on dining. One restaurateur is going beyond that to protect her staff and guests.

Changes to restrictions at restaurants start Thursday, July 30, as Washington state tries to curb a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Beginning Thursday, alcohol can’t be served after 10 p.m. at bars and restaurants, and counties in Phase 3 can’t seat more than five people per table and they all have to be from the same household.

Restaurant capacity in Phase 3 will be reduced to 50%, and bar seating is banned. Indoor card rooms are prohibited, and movie theaters can’t open until Phase 3 when they are allowed to open at 25% capacity.

Starting August 10, wedding receptions will be banned, and wedding ceremonies and funerals are limited to 20% capacity indoors or 30 people, with social distancing.

One local restaurateur said she won't open her dining room to guests.

Head chef and owner Holly Smith said the dining room of Cafe Juanita will remain closed until there's a vaccine.

"I don't think it's safe for my staff or for guests to dine, inside particularly, based on everything I've read, every news report from trusted sources," she said. "I don't want to be part of the problem." 

In the meantime, her restaurant is offering take-out meals.

"I think the thing is to just to keep thinking of creative things that still feel like they fit your model," she said.

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