‘Path to recovery’: Businesses react to June 30th reopening date

TRI-CITIES, Wash — After Governor Jay Inslee announced a full economy reopening on Thursday, businesses are “excited and motivated” to work towards “the end in sight.”

According to Gov. Inslee, the target date is June 30th but could come sooner depending on if Washington hits a 70 percent initiated vaccination rate. As of Thursday, 57 percent of eligible Washingtonians have received their first dose.

Right now, the state is staying at 50 percent capacity for most indoor activities but will allow most public spaces like stores, restaurants, and movie theaters to open at full capacity at the end of June.

For Mamie Gale, the general manager of Fairchild Cinemas, being able to bring back employees is the most exciting part.

“Finally a day where we can say yes, you are needed and you are welcome back and we are happy to have you,” Gale said. “We’re extremely grateful for the support that we’ve had from the community.”

Gale said the cinema team used the pandemic to focus on their cleaning regimes to keep their customers safe.

“We hope that people will continue to come in and realize that being in the movie theaters is a safe place to be,” Gale said. “Everybody’s facing forward, generally, people aren’t talking, everybody is looking in the same direction and there isn’t a lot of contact with anybody.”

Stephanie Button, the executive director for the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership, said the reopening will help maximize the “programming and amenities that are provided in our downtown for guests and shoppers alike.”

“It’s a joy to see the vibrancy of people in the streets, people walking in the evenings. It’s great to see people returning to downtown, that stores and restaurants are busy,” Button said.

However, due to the back and forth of past potential reopening dates, Button said she’s waiting to see it to believe it.

“Having a physical date is fantastic but you know these last 18 months have been wild so I’m not going to put all of my eggs in the June 30th basket but it is fantastic to know there is an end in sight to work towards,” Button said.

Button said vaccinations are the best way to ensure a full capacity opening at the end of June.

“The biggest thing we can ask of our community to support our ongoing path to recovery is to make sure you’re vaccinated,” Button said.

If you are looking to get vaccinated, you can search for a provider near you by clicking here.