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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) – Washingtoners avoided further COVID-19 restrictions but are no closer to fully reopening when Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced a “two-week hiatus” from switching between phases.
It comes because the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased but related deaths are falling, and health officials said the state appears to be reaching a plateau when it comes to the “fourth wave” of COVID-19 -Calls goes.
It’s a stark contrast to Portland, where Multnomah County is now in an “extreme risk” category, with tight restrictions on business operations and gatherings.
With so much closed in Oregon, Portlanders are now crossing state lines to dine at restaurants and exercise at finesse clubs.
On Tuesday afternoon, the parking lots around the Vancouver Waterfront were full and there were many Oregon license plates.
Several restaurants told Fox 12 that the number of customers in Portland had increased and inquired about reservations for various parties and celebrations.
“The numbers have grown exponentially,” said Randy Noia, general manager of WildFin American Grill. “I’m ahead of the 2018 and 2019 numbers.”
It’s been a huge boost to business, even though Clark County remains in phase three of the state’s recovery plan, which limits restaurant capacity to 50 percent.
According to Noia, WildFin is running out of capacity almost every day and has had to turn down requests for larger gatherings as the restaurant does not offer private dining rooms.
“We have received numerous phone calls asking about big parties – rehearsal dinners, bar mitzvahs, weddings, graduations from the Portland area – for fear of being shut down there,” Noia said.
Gordon Strutz from Gresham and his wife went to Vancouver to enjoy an indoor birthday dinner with friends at WildFin.
“We were vaccinated right at the beginning, I will go wherever I want to go,” said Strutz. “I’m 76 years old, how many more years do I have to live?”
Cross state lines for a meal or even to exercise. Big fitness clubs are also seeing new faces.
“We have seen traffic increases in our Vancouver clubs,” said Jen Fox, district manager for 24-hour fitness. “We have two locations and we saw some people come from Portland.”
“While we’re currently closed in Multnomah and Clackamas counties, it’s still great that we can take a lot of people with us when they’re ready to come to Vancouver and take this short drive. We’re here for you, ”said Fox.
Regarding Inslee’s two-week break announcement, Noia said he was grateful that Clark County wouldn’t take a step back.
“I’m very relieved that he hasn’t done anything for two weeks,” Noia said, adding that it would make sense if the state could steer towards a decline in case rates.
“As long as we keep our numbers where they need to be so they don’t go backwards, it’s going to be a huge summer by the water,” Noia said.
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