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Some Spokane restaurants voluntarily close in response to COVID-19 spike

Some restaurants are facing more temporary closures as Spokane County sees large spikes in coronavirus case numbers.

SPOKANE, Wash — Coronavirus case spikes in Spokane County have led to some local restaurants voluntarily, and temporarily, closing their doors. 

Many restaurant owners say they are concerned about the safety of their employees and customers.

Bill Alles, owner of Churchill's Steakhouse, closed his doors this week out of caution.

"I just didn't want to subject my guests or my employees to this increasing spike, especially at this time," Alles said.

Alles said closing felt like the right thing to do, even if it isn't helping their bottom line.

"It still doesn't help economically, but I certainly think it was the right thing to do at the time," Alles said.

Churchill's Steakhouse reopened back in late May, at the start of Phase 2 in Spokane County. Before reopening, they had been closed for three months after the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and Alles estimates that the business lost out on $800,000 in revenue during that closure.

Now, with the restaurant closed again due to the virus, Alles said Churchill's could run out of money.

"These monies are going to run out very soon," he said.

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Churchill's Steakhouse isn't the only restaurant temporarily closing in Spokane.

Borracho Tacos & Tequileria closed temporarily last week for cleaning after 24 coronavirus cases were tied to the bar. 

Other restaurants closing as a precaution during the spike in cases include Inland Pacific Kitchen, Method Juice Cafe, Central Food, and The Scoop, among others.

Many restaurants that are closing don't have a set reopening date as of yet, and Alles said this is a "very scary time for people in [the food] industry."

He also said that even if things get better for the good service industry in the next couple of months, the financial recovery will take much longer.

"We don't know what the horizon looks like, but we're just in a very uncertain time," Alles said.

The owners that KREM spoke with on Wednesday said they received funds from federal loans for small businesses, but that money is now running low.

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