Vancouver restaurant owner assesses cost of reopening

Coronavirus

Dining in at restaurants will hopefully be allowed by the end of May

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Restaurants in Clark County can’t reopen just yet, but county leaders encourage them to prepare for what’s ahead. They must figure out how to physically distance customers from each other and make sure everyone is taking precautions.

The Mighty Bowl has two locations — one in Vancouver and one in Hazel Dell. They also have a food truck. But all were shut down shortly after the stay at home orders were issued. The owner said he immediately made adjustments for take-out only options, but then reality set in.

Owner Steve Valenta said he wasn’t seeing enough take out business to stay open. Plus, his employees were worried about getting sick. So he closed the restaurant doors.

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He plans to reopen, hopefully in the beginning of June. But Valenta is faced with another reality: some of his employees are making more money right now on unemployment than when they worked for him.

“I don’t beat around the bush,” said Valenta. “It’s a very, very important factor in all of this. I’m having to navigate between running a good, quality business and caring for individuals.”

He said he will do his best to try to match what they are making. He said he wants to have the best employees. But that will add to reopening costs, which includes buying all the inventory again.

“The money they are making and that they are able to save, it’s change-their-life money,” said Valenta. “Saving to buy a home or to have money in the bank so they don’t stress at night. That matters to me.”

Washington state, and Clark County, entered Phase One of reopening on May 5. The governor requires three weeks in between phases. Dining in at restaurants will hopefully be allowed by the end of May.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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