Why some Puget Sound restaurants aren’t opening indoor dining in Phase 2
Many restaurants in the Puget Sound region were eager to reopen their indoor dining rooms to 25% capacity this week, as the region moved to Phase 2 and some COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed. But not everyone feels comfortable expanding beyond takeout and delivery.
That includes Jeff Knock, who owns Jeff’s Texas Style BBQ in Marysville.
“I’m a firm believer in ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,'” Knock told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “The last time, before the November shutdown, … we saw cases go up, and I’m concerned for my customers; I’m concerned for my staff.”
Knock’s restaurant is on the smaller side with a total capacity of 50 people. Under the region’s current COVID restrictions, he’s technically allowed to have 12 customers dining indoors at a time.
But when measuring the risk to his employees and customers versus any potential financial gain, he sees it as an easy decision.
“I don’t see any reason to push this issue at all for my business,” he said. “I don’t want to put anybody at risk. We’re talking a few dollars here — I’m not a greedy person.”
Knock’s not alone in his hesitance, with Seattle’s 8 oz. Burger & Co. — which operates a pair of locations — similarly announcing its intention to stick to takeout and delivery for the foreseeable future.
“We still stand firm on this decision mainly for the safety of our staff, and our community,” the restaurant said in a statement posted to its Facebook page on Tuesday. “We would hate to have it be Phase 2 and then to go backwards and shut everything down again. With that said, we want to wait until further progress has been made, and until we feel confident that we can re-open safely back again.”
Knock also acknowledges that not every restaurant owner may feel the same way. Many others across the region have lobbied to have customers indoors for months now, including some who have absorbed sizable fines from the state for refusing to shut down their dining rooms.
For those opting to take advantage of Phase 2’s relaxed rules, Knock says go ahead.
“I think if they want to open up to 25%, I’m all for them doing that,” he noted. “I think it’s a balance — everybody needs to make their own decision.”
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