DES MOINES, Wash. — Many business owners are experiencing guarded excitement as several counties in western Washington relax restrictions and move to Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan.
Counties in the West and Puget Sound regions will move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID-19 reopening plan on Monday, Feb. 1. That includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in Puget Sound and Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific and Thurston counties in the West region.
In Phase 2, a maximum of five people from outside of a person's household can gather indoors and indoor dining is available at 25% capacity until 11 p.m., among other changes. Indoor fitness centers can also open at 25% capacity.
At Tuscany’s restaurant in Des Moines, they’ve reconfigured the tables to comply with the Phase 2 guidelines.
"These four booths, I'm going to use the first one and third one," said Navneet Kaur Smalls while giving a tour of the restaurant on Sunday. Her sister owns the restaurant and they plan to leave large open areas between diners, "The middle lane, I'm going to totally avoid it."
The restaurant is excited to add indoor seating but realize some people might still be concerned about dining indoors.
"It's not like the first day we reopen everything’s going to be normal. It's going to at least take two weeks for people gonna realize that they are open, they are going to come, and feel normal," she said.
They're hoping more customers will allow them to re-hire some of the servers, dishwashers, and assistants they had to layoff.
At Pattison's West Skating Center in Federal Way, they have been able to rehire several employees.
"We're kind of excited to open up again," said owner Mike Pattison. Online ticket sales opened Saturday night and have already been going fast.
On Sunday, Pattison dusted off the sound system in the DJ booth and made sure they had supplies.
"We had to buy a bunch of sanitizer bottles and you go through that pretty fast, which means people are using it, and plexiglass at all the stations," he said.
He said the menu at the snack bar will stay reduced in case the reopening is temporary. "We're going to not have a menu like we have before just because if they shut us down again it will be the third time we would have to throw a bunch of stuff away," Pattison said.
There will also be no couples skating and masks are required. Pattison said they're hoping this reopening will last.
"Whatever they tell us we have to do is what we'll do," he said.