Gov. Inslee’s full response to Chuck E. Cheese owner’s re-open letter

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Longtime local business owner John Corbin sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee this week, pleading for him to allow his Chuck E Cheese location to reopen.

Corbin started his business 38 years ago and is facing potential closure due to the cost of staying closed.

For the full letter and story, go here. 

Today, Gov. Inslee’s office sent a full response to Corbin’s situation and the state of closures as a whole in the region.


Gov. Inslee’s full response:

We deeply sympathize with Mr. Corbin and his family. COVID has had a major impact on our restaurant and indoor family entertainment sector in Washington State. Particularly for those businesses in Benton and Franklin counties where their COVID rates remain 4-6 times higher than our goal and the number of new individuals testing positive is significantly above our state and the CDC metrics.

At this point in time, Benton and Franklin counties are in Modified Phase 1 and the restaurant portion of Chuck E Cheese is permitted to open for indoor dining under those restrictions. We know this is a far cry from all the activities that happen in a typical Chuck E Cheese experience but arcade style games, ball pits, and other communal style high-touch activities are particularly dangerous from a COVID transmission perspective. If we all do our part, mask up and keep physical distancing, we’ll get through this together and keep our COVID numbers trending down to get our businesses back open.

The situation in Oregon is very different from the situation in Washington if you look at the COVID case numbers, which is better there than here. There are less states with worse COVID spread than Washington but fewer restrictions on activities; we think those two facts are related.

There is certainly pandemic fatigue across the state and it is very understandable . The paradox though is that if this leads people to distance less, mask up less, and take other restrictions less seriously, the pandemic will only worsen. If people are doing less to mitigate the spread, the spread will almost certainly grow, and if that happens we won’t make more progress on lifting restrictions.   — Mike Faulk, Office of Governor Jay Inslee