Rule adjustments allow for an additional person at a table, an extra hour to serve alcohol and limited theatre openings.
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Restaurants can fire up the food with a little more ease in Washington. Governor Jay Inslee’s new rules allow six people at a table instead of five, and customers at a table no longer need to be from the same household for indoor dining.
Beaches Restaurant and Bar in Vancouver is glad for that; it makes it easier to reach 50 percent capacity inside.
“The safety standards are exactly what they were, but I think it’s trying to match up states a little bit,” said owner Mark Matthias.
Matthias says the rules adjustments put Washington more in line with Oregon policies. And anything helps, especially with the weather starting to limit outside seating.
Matthias said every bit as important is financial help. “The funding becomes critical for Congress, (and) in Clark County there’s some additional funding: about 8 million came into the county, so that will be a real benefit to a lot of the small businesses,” said Mattias.
At Tap Union Freehouse, the rule change helping them most: is being able to serve alcohol, from the tap or in bottles or cans, until 11 p.m. That’s an hour later than before, which is popular with the late crowd.
“Before all this, we were open until 2 a.m. every night so that was one of the big draws for a lot of people, especially in the service industry,” said staff member Alex Silva. “And so now that we’re open until 11 (for alcohol sales), we’re actually starting to get some of that night crew coming back.”
Silva said business is up five to 10-percent this past week since the extended hour started.
Out in Camas, the Liberty Theatre is open for a sold-out matinee. Another rule change lets movie theatres in Phase Two open to one-quarter capacity. That’s 75 seats in this historic theatre.
“We’re excited because literally after 7 months of being shut down, to get to open and kind of unexpectedly”, said owner Rand Thornsley.
Thornsley said customers purchase their reserved seats in advance, online. “And once you complete that transaction it closes off three seats on either side of you. You’re in your own little bubble, so to speak, you’ve got nobody in the row in front of you and nobody in the row in back of you.”
The Liberty is also taking snack bar orders at the door, so there is no mass gathering in the lobby, waiting for popcorn.