How wonderful to be given the option by our governor to open up businesses and resume commerce in Jefferson County due to our past record of no new COVID-19 cases since April 9. Yet do we dare? The main concern I hear people sharing is a fear that “the tourists” will bring COVID-19 to our county. Yes, this is very likely, yet local businesses thrive on tourism. Yikes, what to do? Creativity is one of Port Townsend’s greatest assets; let’s capitalize on PT’s awesome talents!
I suggest businesses be allowed to have a two-tiered-system of physical distancing regarding services they provide to consumers.
Businesses can then safely open up with full services for Jefferson County residents and only limited services for those from out-of-county, due to having a higher likelihood of exposure. We can return to supporting local businesses now with a two-tiered system of service allowing appropriate physical distancing for all customers — different, but determined by risk of exposure to COVID-19. Some examples of how this might look are: Indoor seating in restaurants for customers with a Jefferson County ID, while only take-out service and outdoor seating for tourists; Curb-side pick-up for tourists and in-store service for locals. Masking, taped lines at the cash register, limits to table sizes and a limited number of customers in stores would also be a part of offering safe distancing to local residents. Businesses could use creativity and common sense in creating business practices with new regulations allowing them to ask customers for identification to decide the safest level of services for local residents and tourists alike.