Restaurant owners unsure how much Phase 2 will help their business

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Restaurants could open sooner in Thurston County under Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to re-open the state, but some owners in Olympia have mixed feelings over this option.

On Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee announced Thurston County, as well as several other counties, are eligible to apply for Phase 2.

Under Phase 2, restaurants can open with 50% capacity, tables must have five people or less, and no bar seating.

Juju Guarino is the owner of The Cascadia Grill. She says she will open her doors to customers if Thurston is approved to move into Phase 2.

“We’ll bring on everyone we can to provide jobs to, but definitely it will be slower,” said Juju Guarino.

Guarino's restaurant has been open during the stay home order for to-go orders.

However, other restaurants have remained closed and do not think it makes sense to reopen under Phase 2.

“I would lose money; it would cost me money to open,” said Lisa Scott Owen.

Scott Owen is the owner of The Mark Olympia, a fine dining restaurant that also relies on special events, like weddings, for a lot of its business.

She says bringing back her staff under Phase 2 restrictions does not make sense for how her business operates.

However, she says her decision is about more than just the economic impacts.

“My staff has to touch the dishes, the silverware, the napkins,” she said. “It’s not safe for my staff, and my staff are not going to feel safe."

Other businesses allowed to reopen under Phase 2 include:

- Remaining manufacturing
- Additional construction phases
- In-home/domestic services (nannies, housecleaning, etc.)
- Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)
- Real estate
- Professional services/office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
- Hair and nail salons/barbers
- Pet grooming