Business owner says Phase 2 does not make running his restaurant easier

CENTRALIA, Wash, - For some businesses, Phase 2 options under the governor’s plan to reopen Washington are not making their jobs any easier.

Lewis County is already in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four phase plan to reopen Washington.

Under Phase 2, restaurants are allowed to welcome diners at 50 percent capacity, as long as there are no tables larger than five people, and no bar seating is allowed.

While Phase 2 loosens restrictions, some owners say it makes their jobs harder.

“We kind of figured out curbside. We were doing OK. Now with the dining room re-opening, that changes the game again, and boy, is it not easy,” said Shane Noel.

Noel is the owner of Berry Fields Café in Centralia.

He bought the two-decade old restaurant last spring and could have never guessed what the future held as a new business owner.

“We were having a great time. We thought we were doing a great job. The customers were happy. Then it came to a quick abrupt slowdown,” he said.

On Saturday, they opened their restaurant to dine-in eaters for the first time in weeks.

Noel says the new health requirements and guidelines create challenges that make operating a restaurant even more difficult. He also says they are not making any more sales offering dine-in, but it does come with extra expenses.

While some restaurants in the area continue to just operate as take-out only, Noel says he has a reason he is welcoming customers back inside the business.

“The community has supported this business for 23 years, and we wanted to do our part. They showed up when we were take-out only very well. So, as soon as we were able to open our doors, we wanted to be able to open our doors and get them back in the dining room,” said Noel.

He says as long as they are able to manage and maintain they will keep their doors open.

Other than restaurants, Phase 2 allows retail stores, barbershops and salons to open with restrictions.

All outdoor recreation is permitted under Phase 2 as long as it’s limited to five people outside of your household.