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In reversal, Airway Heights bar will open for takeout only on Friday

Owners of The Village Tavern in Airway Heights originally planned to reopen at 25% capacity with tables placed six feet apart.

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — A bar in Airway Heights that originally planned to reopen despite a statewide stay-home order will now offer takeout only beginning on Friday. 

Jean Moore, co-owner of The Village Tavern in Airway Heights, said the original plan to open with 25% capacity and tables placed six feet apart changed after discussions with her lawyer.

Moore said the lawyer advised her to send a letter to Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz asking for a "pre-opening deal" to have in place to open. 

KREM had received a tip on Tuesday night that the health department threatened to shut the bar down, but Moore said this wasn't true. Her legal counsel warned that her business license could be pulled to prevent her from opening if protocol wasn't followed, she said. 

The decision to open with takeout only came after Moore said she found that the tavern was classified as a restaurant, which are currently allowed to provide takeout and delivery services.

The Village Tavern will begin takeout food and drinks beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Tap to watch a full interview with Moore

Moore said she doesn't want to disappoint those looking forward to a more full opening, but that the right steps need to be taken to avoid losing her business.

"The reality is that there are certain entities that can and will shut us down, and unless we take the right route, we can lose our license and our business," Moore said. 

Moore also apologized to the community in an interview with KREM on Wednesday.

"I would honestly like to apologize for being so incredibly in a hurry to do this and not really looking at the cost that it could be," she said. 

Bars in Washington state could reopen at 25% capacity under Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee's reopening plan. They could return to full capacity, along with restaurants and entertainment venues, during Phase 4.

Moore has served as co-owner of The Village Tavern in Airway Heights since 2006. She says she and her business partner are reopening the bar because they have run out of options.

“He and I are not making money. We are broke," she said. “My thought from the very beginning has been, ‘This will only be a month or so. We’ll be OK for a month.’ And we did have money put aside. Unfortunately, that money got ate up real fast.”

Tap to watch a full interview with Moore before her decision to open for takeout only

The bar received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, but 75% of the funds went toward paying employees, Moore said. 

Moore also expressed frustration that Northern Quest Resort and Casino, which is located just under three miles from the bar, has reopened to guests. The casino is allowed to reopen because it's on sovereign land run by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and not subject to state law. 

RELATED: Northern Quest opens all casino machines after feedback from guests

“They’re scaring people and trying very hard to take our civil liberties away," Moore said of state leaders. "I’m sorry, but I have the right to make a living and this is how I do it.”

“It’s an adult facility. As an adult, if you don’t know how to wash your hands and wear a mask, then you should stay home. And if you’re afraid, please stay home," Moore said on Tuesday. "We want you to come here and enjoy this place.”

Moore said on Tuesday that Spokane is "dramatically different than the governor's side of the state."

“It’s time to get things going. It’s time to open Spokane," she added.

KREM photojournalist Nathan Brand contributed to this report. 

RELATED: Washington restaurants reopening in Phase 2 must follow these rules

RELATED: What's allowed during Washington's reopening? Here are the four phases

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