Locals protest current COVID-19 restrictions in front of the Franklin County Courthouse

PASCO, Wash. – Nearly a hundred people gathered outside the Franklin County Courthouse on Tuesday morning to protest the state’s latest COVID-19 restrictions.

The organizer of the “Let Us Work” rally, John Logue, told KAPP KVEW the purpose of the gathering was to send a message to elected officials that these restrictions are hurting local businesses and employees who can’t handle a financial hit.

Logue said many people, including himself, live with a tight budget and were already struggling financially before the pandemic. He’s also concerned with the number of businesses forced to close their doors.

“What I’m thinking about is the people that work in those places. They’re going to be out of work. The bar owners who sunk their entire lives into their place, the restaurant owners that have sunk their entire life into their establishments they’re going to lose it all,” said Logue.

Several business owners from across the Tri-Cities attended the rally. A few took the stage to share their concerns, including Koko’s Bartini in Kennewick owner, Dana Slovak. His bar has remained open in protest to the indoor dining restrictions.

Governor Jay Inslee says the current restrictions are in place because of the rapid spread of COVID-19. On Tuesday, Inslee said he will consider more restrictions if the state can’t contain the surging virus.

John Logue argues that COVID-19 is manageable, and he claims the restrictions have caused an increase in domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicide.

“The so-called cure is worse than the virus,” said Logue.

Here is a list of the current restrictions that are in place until December 14th.

  • The biggest impact will be the closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars. Outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Outdoor dining must follow the outdoor dining restriction. Table size is limited to five for outdoor dining. These restaurant restrictions went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.
  • In-store retail is limited to 25% indoor occupancy and must close any common/congregate non-food-related seating areas. Food court indoor seating is closed.
  • Indoor social gatherings from people outside your household are prohibited and outdoor social gatherings should be limited to five people outside your household.
  • Fitness facilities and gyms are closed for indoor operations. Outdoor fitness classes may still occur but they are limited by the outdoor gathering restriction listed above.
  • Wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited. Ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people.
  • All retail activities and business meetings are prohibited. Only professional training and testing that cannot be performed remotely is allowed. Occupancy in each meeting room is limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Movie theaters are closed for indoor service. Drive-in movie theaters are still permitted and must follow the current drive-in movie theater guidance.
  • Religious services are limited to 25% indoor occupancy or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choir, band or ensemble shall perform during the service.
  • Museums/zoos/aquariums are closed for indoor service.