Gov. Jay Inslee and state officials announced an emergency proclamation on Monday ordering the immediate closure of all restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreation facilities statewide for two-weeks, in addition to further limits imposed on large gatherings over 50 people as numbers of COVID-19 infections in Washington and the country continue to rise.
Inslee said the reason for the added measures was clear: King County represents about 2% of the population of the United States but over 20% of novel coronavirus infections currently. Public Health – Seattle & King County reported 30 new cases of confirmed COVID-19 infection and six additional deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 46.
Gov. Inslee’s latest order will be in place through March 31. While many dining establishments remain open for drive-through, take-out and delivery services, other businesses have been forced to close.
The following is a list of eateries that remain open and have begun curbside pick-up or delivery services exclusively. This information will be updated on The Beachcomber’s website throughout the week as it becomes available. Some cancellations are pending further recommendations from public health. The Beachcomber will give updates on changes and further closures as we learn more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with questions or news tips.
- The Rock Island Pizza: Closed until further notice.
- Patty’s Place: call/text an order to 249-3152.
- Island Queen: open for drive-through only.
- The Ruby Brink: butcher shop is open for groceries and take away meat and noodles only. 408-7795.
- Perry’s Vashon Burgers: 463-4911.
- Mica’s Kitchen: curbside delivery or pickup. 408-7590.
- Palouse Winery: 567-4994.
- Cafe Luna: 463-0777.
- Casa Bonita: 463-6452.
- The Hardware Store Restaurant: limited menu served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. 463-1800.
- Gravy Vashon: full dinner menu available for takeout. 463-0489.
- Subway: open daily for takeout. 463-4800.
- May Kitchen and Bar: open for takeout Wednesday to Sunday. 408-7196.
- Mustafa’s Syrian Kitchen food truck: outside Kush 21 from 11 a.m to 5:30 p.m. You can text your order for pick-up at 458-2450.
- Iyad’s Syrian Grill: outside of the Vashon Library from a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
- Zamorana: 356-5684.
- Vashon Island Baking Company: open regular hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Takeaway/curbside service available at 463-1441.
- Bramble House: limited menu for both to-go and delivery, 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday nights. 408-7159.
- Anu Rana’s Healthy Kitchen: pick up a Grab n’ Go meal from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 408-7470.
- Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie & Minglement: 463-9800.
- Camp Colvos Brewing: Pick up and delivery service for food and beer. All payments online at campcolvos.com.
- Pure Kitchen & Juicery: Open 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Saturday. Order on Facebook or online. 259-3179.
- Vashon Pizza: 567-4992.
At the press conference, King County Executive Dow Constantine expressed his gratitude to those who he said “have turned their lives upside down and changed the way they work and travel and provide for their families and the well-being of their neighbors.”
But he said that too few are taking necessary precautions or practicing social distancing as recommended by public health to contain the spread of the virus, warranting the new order in place combined with the additional restriction on crowd sizes.
“It is time right now for people to assume that they and everyone they meet has been exposed and is potentially infected,” said Constantine, who later made a plug for supporting local restaurants and the arts safely. “We are at a critical moment in this crisis. We’re leaving the phase of COVID-19 outbreaks in concentrated areas in the county and we are entering the phase of a potentially rapid and widespread infection,” he said.
Symptoms of those with confirmed coronavirus disease range from fever and cough to shortness of breath. Older people and those with severe underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes are at higher risk of developing a serious COVID-19 illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health advises those with confirmed coronavirus or who suspect coronavirus illness to isolate themselves from others. Do not go to work or school and avoid public areas. Do not use public transportation, taxis, or ride-share services. Monitor the progression of symptoms and call a primary care doctor before visiting a practice. More information is available online.
Inslee, for his part, invoked World War II in describing the battle against COVID-19 that he said the public can and must fight.
“This is bigger than all of us, and I am fully confident that Washingtonians will rise to the challenge to get back to a normal state of our life as soon as humanly possible,” he said, adding that individuals should make purchases thoughtfully in consideration of their neighbors in order to keep supply lines moving and open for the sale of goods.
Public health officer Jeff Duchin reiterated that the impetus is on everyone in the state to work together and avoid close contact until community spread of the virus is effectively reduced.
“The actions that we are taking today are going to impact what is happening in our community weeks and months from now,” he said. “We need to impress on everyone the urgency of the situation and the importance of taking both governmental and individual actions.”
But the imperative of eliminating COVID-19 has forced some businesses on the island to shut their doors until officials give the all-clear.
Nick Maier, president of the Vashon Athletic Club, said that while the gym is shut down staff will focus on conducting a deep clean of the space as well as getting started on work such as a major racquetball court renovation that will transform the area with new equipment where new classes and training options will be offered.
Maier said he hopes the order will expire on March 31 but is hesitant to believe it will. That would be difficult for the employees who work at the athletic club, Maier said, some who are salaried but more of whom are hourly workers.
“If we’re unable to open up on March 31, it’s definitely going to be a challenge,” he said.
In the meantime, the athletic club has started live-streaming group exercise classes available for anyone in the community — non-members welcome — to join for group exercises tailored to what people can do in their homes. For more information, visit online.
A host of other island locales have also closed in the wake of the latest mandate. Shaylea Swenson of Pollard Per Se said that the brick and mortar store uptown will not open but that they are still roasting coffee and customers can order online for free drop-off and free shipping. Brewer Cliff Goodman said that the Vashon Community Pub has also closed its doors, effective at least until the end of the month, affecting one full-time and one part-time employee.
“It’s all so up in the air. No one knows where this is heading or how long it will last. We’re just taking it one day at a time right now,” he said.
The Vashon Eagles has closed until further notice according to president Susie Middling Wilks; the Vashon Theatre has gone dark as well and has begun selling movie passes online at tinyurl.com/r2mdnw7 for later screenings.
Islander Julie Rosenbaum, a bartender at The Eagles and Sporty’s, said she thought the mood in the bar when she last worked was happy, a welcomed distraction from the constant barrage of news and information about the coronavirus.
“There was an hour and a half when nobody talked about the virus and that was really refreshing,” she said. “I think in general everyone was concerned and frustrated but happy for the distraction and the comradery that people wanted to come out and share space was uplifting for some.”
In the meantime, Rosenbaum, who also doubles as a freelance massage therapist, said she is going to spend time with her three boys who attend the Vashon Island School District and keep them learning and busy while they are out of school.
“I’m pretty confident that we’re all going to make it through this A-OK, so I’m going to try to live life as close to normal as possible while taking calculated risks but also precautions as well,” she said.
Snapdragon Restaurant, a complex that includes a bakery and restaurant, the Black Cat Cabaret performance space, and a bar, Home Sweet Home, has shuttered completely, and will not offer takeout food during its period of closure.
Reached by phone, owners Megan Hastings and Adam Cone reflected on the suddenness with which so much had changed for their bustling business in the past days.
“Today is our first day of trying to be in this mindset that we’re done for two weeks or whatever it is,” Hastings said. “There is no closing a restaurant without it being super planned out.”
During the past week, Snapdragon’s business had dwindled, she added.
“We ran tight this past week, with a spartan staff,” she said. “But yesterday was [more crowded with] all Seattle people, and we thought, maybe we shouldn’t be exposed to that.”
The employees at the restaurant have been furloughed, she said, adding that she and Cone were in the process of figuring out temporary unemployment benefit arrangements for the staff on a case by case basis.
In the meantime, the couple plan to hunker down at home.
“We’re just going to hang out with our four dogs and five cats,” Hastings said.
Cone expressed gratitude for the statewide mandate.
“As the over-thinking Capricorn crazy person that I am, I just don’t have a reference point to navigate the days ahead,” he said. “I’m glad there is someone like Jay Inslee who made the decision.”
Still, he indicated concern for his industry as a whole.
“A lot of these restaurants are Mom and Pop, and a lot depends on different tiers of financial support and discretionary measures,” he said.
Snapdragon, listed for sale in December, is still for sale, according to Hastings and Cone.
And Hastings, for her part, ended the conversation by expressing hope for the future.
“As soon as this sanction is over, there is going to be one hell of a party on Vashon,” she said. “I think people are going to be nuts.”
Until then, there’s islander Kathleen Gilligan, who is helping to facilitate a group of community helpers with a new Facebook group connecting islanders who are vulnerable during this time with others in the community who can help them with their needs.
“We have all these other groups that are trying to do something but I wanted one central clearinghouse for all the information,” Gilligan said.
Enter the Vashon COVID-19 Community Helpers page, 370 members strong at press time and growing. Prospective volunteers and those who need assistance are invited to share their information via Google Sheets, listing what they can offer — anything from a listening ear to animal care — and what help is needed. Services listed in the document that are needed right now include volunteer truck unloaders, warehouse help and home delivery drivers for the Vashon Food Bank. The group coordinators are also creating a comprehensive directory of island businesses that can provide additional assistance such as home delivery, childcare and help with errands. Gilligan said it’s a work in progress but one she feels strongly about undertaking.
“People want to help, and there’s also people who say, ‘well, we don’t know, should we be touching each other?’ But we have to be able to help each other,” she said.
Elizabeth Shepherd contributed to this story.