SUNNYSIDE — When Banquet and Event Coordinator Lori Alvarado found out that Snipes Mountain Microbrewery and Restaurant was opening for outside dining, she recalled, “I didn’t sleep all night.”
“I was so excited to be back to work,” the longtime employee admitted.
Her place of work had been closed like most other restaurants since late March. “We opened on July 3 for outside dining,” she added.
Prior to that, the staff had been taking orders for curbside pick-ups, but with much smaller crews.
Since Governor Jay Inslee announced the phased approach to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic, Safe Start Washington on May 4, restaurants in the Yakima Valley have been in Phase 1, and could remain open only if they provided pick-up, drive-through, or delivery services while making changes to ensure customer and worker safety with no onsite dining.
Only recently as Yakima County COVID-19 cases have started to decease have restaurants been allowed to open indoor dining up to 25% capacity.
“Now we are excited to go to be closer to Phase 2 getting closer to 50% capacity,” added longtime wait staff member Brandi Cerda, who is feeling blessed to be working her regular shift again, even if it’s only at 25% capacity.
“We’ve only been allowed to have inside dining for the past couple of weeks. The patio is busy and inside dining is picking up,” Cerda noted.
Mid-afternoon Friday, Sept. 4, four parties enjoyed the valley sunshine on the restaurant’s covered patio, regardless of the additional smoke haze from the Evans Canyon fire burning nearly 100 miles west of Sunnyside.
Inside dining, which was allowed just two weeks ago, found four more groups enjoying lunch and air conditioning.
The Hopp group of Richland enjoyed lunch on the patio with a couple glasses of Snipes Microbrewery’s popular Dos Borrachos – “…nice, cold and a perfect end of a successful buying trip,” group spokesperson Dashia Hopp noted.
She and her husband, Mike Hopp, and Ryan Young had been in Granger to buy fresh Citra and Sabro hops for their North Richland Bombing Range Brewing Company and Restaurant.
“Our situation is just like yours down here, so it’s nice to get to eat at someplace other than our own,” she said.