Vancouver restaurants stay busy ahead of new statewide restrictions

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday that starting Tuesday, several new COVID-19 restrictions are going into effect statewide. 

The changes will require most businesses to close their indoor services, including fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums. Retail stores —including grocery stores — must limit their indoor capacity to 25%. 

By Wednesday, restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor dining and to-go service. 

Sunday night, restaurants on the Vancouver waterfront were busy as people sat down for their last indoor visits before the shutdown. 

“We have to do what we need to do to protect people,” said Alberte Harboe, who was singing and entertaining people as they ate, “but it’s just sad for the restaurants and for all the people that need to make money.” 

Harboe is from Denmark and has been in the U.S. for a little over a year. She said her social “bubble” keeps to themselves, wears masks, and sanitizes and washes their hands often, following the guidelines so they keep themselves and their families safe. 

“We don’t really see other people, because I don’t want to get it,” Harboe said. 

While the new restrictions are tough, Dr. Nathan Schlicher, president of the Washington State Medical Association, said it’s important to stop the spread for the health of the community. 

“The number of people who are dying is going to go up,” he said. “There is about 10% of people who get this disease are going to have life-time impact potentially. We are seeing this now, and third, as our hospitals fill up, there are people who aren’t going to get life-saving surgeries and the health impacts that come from that.” 

Without restrictions, public health officials say cases would likely continue to double every two weeks, as they have been. There could be up to 4,000 new cases per day in Washington by the end of the month if the virus isn’t stopped. 

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