Gold Bar diner latest to defy COVID restrictions and open indoor dining
Numerous business owners and restaurateurs are in a situation where they are going to lose their business if they stay closed, and a few are opening in defiance of Governor Inslee’s lockdown orders. One such establishment that made the decision to reopen indoor dining as of Jan. 1 is the Mountain View Diner in Gold Bar, Wash.
Owner Jane Boglivi joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio to discuss why.
“I’ve lost so much this year, it’s unbelievable. … It will take years to recover from this. I’ve had to lay off people. We all have families. Some of us are single income homes, and there’s no other paycheck coming in the household to pay the bills or help out or anything,” she said.
“Unemployment’s backed up. No way would it have covered two mortgages, basically two households. Because I have all the bills of the house here. There’s just twice as much, as I do it with my home, and I just I couldn’t afford to go and get any further.”
She estimates that she’s doing around a third of her business before COVID hit, and still has to deal with building upkeep, among other related expenses. It’s taken a massive toll on her.
“Sleepless nights, you’re just exhausted, even trying to figure out how you’re going to make ends meet and keep a roof over your head. And like I said, I’ve been here for 27 years. I ran a different place for three years prior to this in the same town, and after 30 years of putting my heart and soul into this place, I’m not willing to just hand it over to the bank or the government,” she said.
“Everything’s open but restaurants. It makes no sense to me,” she added. “Even places that have 180 employees that have COVID are still open. They never linked COVID to sitting in a restaurant. … It’s wrong for the government to stop me from being able to provide for my family and myself, and my employees to provide for their families.”
Defending his restrictions in early December, Gov. Inslee cited several studies that indicate COVID-19 infection rates are higher when restaurants allow indoor dining. The governor also noted that restaurants in violation of the state’s rules face “significant” fines.
So, what is Boglivi going to do if the state of Washington fines her, or threatens her business license or liquor license?
“Well, they’ve almost taken my business as it is, so what’s the difference? What are you going to get out of me if I have nothing?” she said.
Boglivi says those who’ve complained to the government about her opening fail to understand what she’s been through, but says they’re free to do as they like.
“It’s a free world, and that’s my point. It’s free for you to slander me. You don’t know my situation. You don’t know how much money I’ve lost in the last nine months,” she said. “For you to sit here and tell me I’m doing the wrong thing is totally absurd.”
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.