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Letter to Editor: Indoor dining ban should end


Last updated 1/4/2021 at 9:53am

I own and operate three restaurants in Washington State, two in Snohomish County. The ongoing shutdowns of indoor restaurant dining has had a devastating effect on our businesses and our employees.

Large stores retail stores continue to pack customers into their stores well past the mandatory 25% occupancy limit, while restaurants are shuttering their doors permanently. Our restaurants should be allowed the same opportunity to operate under the safety guidelines established by the CDC and the WA Health Department. Our valued and hardworking staff members are frustrated with relying on unemployment benefits to pay their bills and put food on their tables. They do not want charity. They want to return to work and earn a living.

On Sept. 28, the CDC identified shopping in crowded stores and waiting in long lines as high-risk activities yet the governor continues to keep indoor restaurant dining shutdown because it is considered a high-risk activity? Corporate America thrives. Main street America dies (

Governor Inslee has justified the ongoing shutdown of indoor restaurant dining, bars and gyms based on science that just doesn’t add up. Since the latest shutdown on Nov. 17, the rolling 14-day average of new cases in Snohomish County increased from 278 to 417, a 50% increase. Clearly, restaurants, bars and gyms did not contribute to the increase in new COVID cases during this time period.

It’s time for the Legislature to take the reins from Governor Inslee and put a stop to one-person rule in Washington state! The intent of the emergency powers statute was to provide for quick, decisive action in a crisis, not to create a Monarchy. Governor Inslee is failing small businesses and the Legislature needs to intervene immediately. Reopen restaurants, bars and gyms.

Diane Symms


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