Ocean beaches brace for travelers as state relaxes restrictions

SEATTLE -- The Phase 2 reopening comes just in time as hotels in Ocean Shores are expecting crowds to flock to the state’s beaches.

Even so, this Memorial Day Weekend won’t likely look anything you’ve seen before.

Hotels and restaurants will likely max out their newly limited capacity while taking care to make sure everyone stays safe.

Most business owners along our coast told Q13 News the beginning of their busy season normally started back in April for spring break. Many said they are excited to get back to work but also a bit nervous over the virus.

“Bottom line is a big goose egg,” said Mike Doolittle, owner of Playtime Family Fun.

His business depends on families to spend money playing games, go-karts and ice cream. But since his tiny beach town has been on lockdown for months, exactly how the holiday might work is still an unknown.

“We don’t know what to expect,” said Doolittle.

Crews at The Canterbury Inn have been cleaning like mad. Capacity has also been halved in the hotel, and amenities are also scaled back.

“I hope that people understand that it’s new and uncharted waters for everyone,” said manager Shannon Rubin.

Half of their rooms are off-limits to guests and management is advising customers to cook their own food during their visit to limit any viral exposure in town.

“The grocery store is where all the locals go,” said manager Tiffany Avery. “As soon as one person gets sick out here the mayor’s going to close us back down.”

“We just got our single use menus yesterday,” said Pirates Cove Pub owner Jim Edwards. “I think we’re ready and we’re pretty excited.”

Edwards said his team has moved indoor seating 6-feet apart and have enough PPE for employees.

“By next week we’ll be fully going,” he said.

Grays Harbor County health officials warn the virus is still a concern and social distancing and good hygiene remains important.

The agency says gathering in groups larger than five people is still not recommended.