Local restaurants have been forced to make changes to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington state Department of Health has set conditions under which the state’s counties can resume normal activities, while minimizing the impacts of COVID-19.
Most counties in Washington have entered phase 2, which restricts gatherings outside your household to have no more than five people.
With the transition to phase 2, local restaurants have finally been able to reopen and take in a limited number of customers.
But with the reopening, the restaurants have been forced to make changes to abide by Washington’s social distancing guidelines.
One change that local restaurants have made is that there can only be a certain number of tables used within the restaurant while also being spaced out from one another.
“What we did is we split the tables into pairs of three, all spaced from each other by 6 feet,” said Sonny Dong, a table setter for Tokyo-ya Ramen & Izakaya in Federal Way. “We used signs and tape to show that some tables inside the restaurant could not be used.”
Some restaurants, like Baskin Robbins and Quiznos, have removed restaurant dine-in completely.
Another change that restaurants have made is customers and employees of the restaurant are required to wear face masks within the restaurant.
“The employees are also required to wear face masks, not just the customers,” said Josh Lee, an employee at Baskin Robbins in Sumner. “If you don’t wear a mask when you are inside, we are able to not serve you and can ask you to leave.”
Mask requirements are not the only thing that have been changed for the employees.
Employees are also asked to constantly sanitize and clean the interior of the restaurant.
“We clean the tables, counter, bathroom, and all that stuff way more often then we used to because of corona,” said Joshua Kang, an employee at Quiznos in Tukwila.
Some other changes that some restaurants, like Hak San Teriyaki in Federal Way and Boiling Point in Tukwila, have made are plastic dividers between the cashier and customer, and a sanitizing station at the entrance/exit of the restaurant.
While many restaurants are reopening, business has slowed down dramatically, restaurant workers say, though numbers recently seem to be climbing back up.
“Customer numbers dropped a lot when we first opened back up,” said another employee at Quiznos. “In the later days, we started to get more and more customers. But not as much as we once had.”
Some restaurants have partnered with firms such as UberEATS and DoorDash to provide home delivery.
UberEATS and DoorDash are online delivery services that deliver food straight to your house with no-contact delivery.