Anacortes restaurants will now be able to seat patrons indoors at reduced capacity, just in time for Valentine’s Day and as cold winter weather has set in.
Skagit County has met metrics to move into phase two under the “Healthy Washington” COVID-19 business reopening plan.
Current plans do not outline what metrics are needed and what measures will be relaxed in a next phase. The region including Ellensberg, Yakima, Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities is the only region in Washington to not move on to phase two.
Governor Inslee announced that instead of Monday, the phase change will occur on Sunday, so that 25% indoor capacity for restaurants may take place for Valentine’s Day.
“I am confident people, young and old, will celebrate safely. And if it’s a first date that doesn’t go well, remind them to stay six feet away from you,” Inslee said the announcement.
Some restaurants in Anacortes, such as Anthony’s, Bob’s Chowder Bar and the Rockfish Grill were already offering 25% “open-air” seating, where one or more walls had to allow airflow and meet carbon dioxide measurements, as laid out in the Healthy Washington plan.
Though for the restaurants unable to before will now have another means to serve diners.
Alia Rossi, manager for 5th Street Bistro, said they were doing take-out and room service only, but now they have more options with indoor seating available.
Reservations are required on Valentine’s Day, and they only have a few spots left, Rossi said.
Fitness centers will now also be able to open without reservations at 25 percent capacity.
"Vaccines are coming, and we urge everyone to continue following basic precautions regardless of the activities you’re undertaking to ensure that you are healthy when you become eligible for a vaccine,” county Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson said in a release.
COVID-19 reopening status check
The North region, which includes Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan, and Island counties, met all four metrics to move on, though recently the requirement was lowered so that a region only had to meet three out of four.
Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100k: -32% (-10% needed)
Trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100k: -17% (-10% needed)
Average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds: 53% (goal is under 90%)
Average 7-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests: 6% (goal is under 10%)