Dogs were freshly groomed, people dined in and tables were spread apart as many business owners breathed a sigh of relief on June 1.
Some businesses across the North Olympic Peninsula opened their doors for the first time in more than two months due to COVID-19 restrictions as both Clallam and Jefferson counties joined Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-part state reopening plan.
Two more positive cases were announced in Clallam County Tuesday, bringing the total to 27. The previous 25 identified patients have recovered from the virus, health officials said.
An additional case was confirmed in Jefferson County on Monday, bringing the total to 31, said Dr. Tom Locke, Jefferson County Health Officer.
“These are very much the cases that we want to find,” he said.
Both counties on Monday entered a near-full Phase 2 of Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan, which opened in-store retail shopping and in-restaurant dining, as well as other activities.
Overnight camping is the sole Phase 2 activity that won’t be allowed for either county until the rest of the state has entered the same phase.
Some manufacturing and professional businesses reopened, nail and hair salons were back in business, pet groomers were busy, and restaurants could open to sit-down dining with up to 50 percent capacity.
Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank referred to Inslee’s order on face masks in public, a requirement for all employees in a workplace if they come within 6 feet of other workers or the public. The order goes into effect June 8.
“This addition came as a surprise to a lot of us, me included,” Unthank said.
Unthank stressed that law enforcement won’t go to local businesses to enforce the rule. Any enforcement would come from the state Department of Laborand Industries, she said.
“Law enforcement have important things to do,” Unthank said. “Frankly, we don’t think it’s a good idea for them to be doing that.”
Unlike Jefferson County, Unthank said she does not plan to recommend a mandate that masks be worn in public.
“I don’t think it’s enforceable,” she said. “I don’t want to put a burden on law enforcement.”
In Port Angeles, Kit-n-Kapoodle Pet Salon’s phones were off the hook as people who had been waiting for three months to get their pets groomed called all day, owner Aleshea Truckenmiller said.
She has a waiting list of shaggy dogs waiting for new hairdos as 35 people called on Monday. Truckenmiller said her business typically grooms eight to 10 dogs a day.
“They’re tipping us very well,” she said. “They missed us, and we missed them and love their dogs.”
Jake Oppelt, owner of Next Door Gastropub and Bourbon West in Port Angeles, said he nearly has all of his employees back at their normal hours.
Next Door Gastropub stayed open for takeout during the shutdown and had a busy food truck parked on Front Street as well the past few weeks.
“Everybody is extremely excited to be back,” Oppelt said. “The staff is excited. The capacity is 50 percent; it feels a bit like a slow day.”