Restaurant background

The Washington Hospitality Association CEO Anthony Anton is firing back at Governor Jay Inslee calling the new reopening plan, "a roadmap to a near-complete collapse."

Anton said despite the closures, he has seen cases skyrocket. He claims the rising cases are due to people hosting private events at their homes. 

Anton said in the statement that he believes restaurants provide a safe place for people to gather while following social distancing rules. 

"This latest announcement leaves us at a loss for what to do next and makes it clear that we are running out of time," Anton wrote. 

Read the full statement here:

"Today’s announcement is not a roadmap to recovery. It is a roadmap to a near-complete collapse of main street neighborhood restaurants and hospitality businesses.

"When we were shut down again two months ago, I made a prediction that cases would continue to rise because people would host private social gatherings through the holidays. Unfortunately, I was right. On November 15 when the governor announced he was closing restaurants again, we had 1,578 cases. On New Year’s Eve, before the parties began, we had 4,200 cases. We’re now in a third, rebranded shutdown that also will not work.

"We have spent the better part of a year working with the governor and his team on some of the strongest indoor dining protections in the nation, which contact tracing data showed limited the spread of the virus. We’ve now been shut down again for eight weeks and cases have only continued to grow. This demonstrates what we’ve been saying: You can achieve compliance in a business, but not in homes.

"We know that the increase in cases over the last two months is due to private social behavior – not restaurants. In fact, restaurants provide a place with effective protections that allow people to gather safety, but not while we’re closed.  

"It is clear the public is growing tired of ten months restrictions and that public support of ongoing restrictions with no discrete end date is fading fast. Despite the Governor's travel advisory, Christmas weekend saw the highest airport traffic since the pandemic began. Public fatigue is weakening the effectiveness of the restrictions but isn’t diminishing the harm.

"At the last shutdown, we had no vaccine. Now that we do, we believe the governor must answer: What is the timeline for rolling out the vaccine, who is next in line, and what is this determination based upon? When is herd immunity expected? What is the detailed, long-range plan to support economic activity until herd immunity is achieved? And what is the plan for keeping Main Street from collapsing until that day arrives?  

"To date, our industry has only seen what amounts to a million-dollar band-aid to a billion-dollar problem that we did not cause and that we haven’t made worse. It’s simply not enough for our increasingly desperate members.

"As other states have fought these orders in the courts and organized opening protest, we have done everything we can to work with the governor’s office, but this latest announcement leaves us at a loss for what to do next and makes it clear that we are running out of time.

"We will be talking with our members immediately to get a sense of how they would like to proceed, as this plan is not acceptable to the thousands of small businesses whose livelihoods are hanging in the balance and the hundreds of thousands of employees who depend on us.”