Local Mayors, Political and Civic Leaders Endorse 50% Restaurant Capacity

January 28, 2021
We are open sign

For Immediate Release: 1/27/2021


Derek Baziotis, 509-979-6079

Spokane Chair of Washington Hospitality Association & owner of Bene’s

Local Spokane and Whitman County Mayors, elected officials and civic business associations are uniting to request that Governor Jay Inslee immediately increase indoor restaurant capacity to 50 percent.  Local restauranteurs have banded together to make the case that 25% restaurant capacity and take-out alone will not keep workers employed and sustain their businesses. We firmly believe that restaurants can operate safely by adhering to health recommendations regarding masking up and social distancing.

A local group of restaurant owners have recently joined together and created a series of video commercials stressing that take-out and twenty-five percent capacity will not sustain their business.

“Twenty-five percent capacity will guarantee one-hundred percent failure,” said Mark Starr of David’s Pizza as he stares blankly into the camera.

Ken Belisle, The Onion and Frank’s Diner owner, said, “Restaurants cannot survive on take-out alone.” Articulating what dining establishments and the restaurant association have been saying for months.

Derek Baziotis, the Spokane Chair of the Washington Hospitality Association commented that “We need the public to understand that the Governor’s roadmap will devastate our industry.”

In a press release dated January 5th, Washington Hospitality Association President & CEO Anthony Anton said,“[the Governor’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…. 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 safely, but not while we’re closed.”

Both the local spot and the Hospitality Association press release stress that the hospitality industry is trying to work with the Governor’s plan. Their problem is the capacity limit, and the ‘take-out only’ limit will not support these local businesses much longer.

Two sixty-second spots have been created by local restaurant owners and can be viewed as a PSA on local television and their Facebook page: Re-Open Restaurants. Elected officials, business owners and business associations who support this position are:

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Mayor Nadine Woodward-Spokane

Mayor Ben Wick-Spokane Valley

Mayor Cris Kaminskas-Liberty Lake

Mayor Sonny Weathers-Airway Heights

Mayor Shirly Maike-Medical Lake

Mayor KayDee Gilkey-Fairfield

Mayor Kevin Freeman-Millwood

Mayor Glenn Johnson-Pullman

Art Swannack, Whitman County Commissioner District 1

Tom Handy, Whitman County Commissioner District 2

Michael Largent, Whitman County Commissioner District 3

Josh Kerns, Spokane County Commissioner Chair, District 1

Al French, Spokane County Commissioner District 3

State Representative Michelle Caldier

State Representative Tom Dent

State Representative Mary Dye

State Representative Jenny Graham

State Representative Drew MacEwen

State Representative Jacquelin Maycumber

State Representative Bob McCaslin

State Representative Joe Schmick

State Representative Joel Kretz

State Representative Mike Volz

State Representative Alex Ybarra

State Representative Rob Chase

State Senator Mike Padden

State Senator Mark Schoesler

State Senator Shelly Short

State Senator Jeff Holy

Michael Cathcart, Spokane City Council Member, District 1

Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce

Visit Spokane


Below are Restaurant Owners who have volunteered to be interviewed by the Media

Derek Baziotis: Spokane Chair of Washington Hospitality Association and owner of Bene’s: 509-979-6079

Chris Siemens: Mustard Seed & Noodle Express: 509-879-7822

Reema Shaver: Bistango: 509-994-4559

Ken Belisle: The Onion: 509-220-0201

Mark Starr: David’s Pizza: 509-939-1800


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