‘Life coming back to the way it was’: Main Ave business owners celebrate state’s full reopening

SPOKANE, Wash. — For the first time in 472 days, restaurants, bars and stores across Washington can be open at full capacity. 

Wednesday marked the beginning of the post-pandemic era for Washington businesses. 

Governor Inslee’s statewide order ended at midnight and while people in Washington are still getting sick from COVID-19, the measures designed to protect the public are gone. 

Throughout the pandemic, 4 News Now has shown the effect of the shutdown through the story of one block in downtown Spokane; from its most empty early on in the pandemic to the changes brought on throughout the last year and a half. 

READ: Businesses on Main Avenue survive COVID-19 shutdowns

READ: Small businesses on Main Avenue trying to survive, hoping for more financial relief

Now, there is a turn in the road on Main Avenue. Businesses have begun the return back to normal and owners said they are relieved. 

A year ago, businesses owners said they were barely eking by. 

“None of our staff are working now,” said Boots Bakery owner Allison Collins during a March 2020 interview. “I’m kind of right now on hold.” 

The feeling of the pandemic had a very different vibe on Wednesday.

Since that story aired, Finders Keepers Boutique moved out of their space. Now, Analisa Martin’s Find Your Glow has moved in.

She decided to open up in the new location late last year, despite all the challenges from the shutdown. 

“I was shut down for a total of four months last year during COVID,” Martin said. “I am an esthetician so I offer facial treatment so we were kind of some of the first to be shutdown.” 

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During the past few months, as more and more restrictions have been lifted, Martin has seen an increase in her clientele. 

“I definitely see foot traffic coming through. I think some clients who may have been hesitant to come back for facials might feel more comfortable now at this point,” she said. 

While COVID cases rose throughout the year, and more restrictions were put into place, companies had to learn to adapt to the times in order to just stay afloat. 

Across Main Avenue at Black Label Brewing Company, co-owner Dan Dvorak said they were never worried about having to permanently close down, but did have to learn to diversify what they offer. 

“Before this, we didn’t have any online sales or even too much to go packaging, canning or anything like that,” Dvorak said. “But since the pandemic, that’s changed 180 degrees.”

Dvorak said it has been great to see guests visiting the space, adding that it felt like “life coming back to the way it was.” 

“Couldn’t have it any better than that,” he said. 

READ: Sense of normalcy returns to Main Avenue and its businesses ahead of Memorial Day weekend