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Colder weather and Stage 3 restrictions threaten Downtown Meridian businesses

downtown meridian
Deja Brew outside seating
Outdoor seating at Eight Thirty Common with a view of Deja Brew's patio
Posted at 11:08 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 18:45:28-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — As temperatures reach all-time lows and the pandemic persists yet another week, we’re revisiting a story we first brought you last week.

On Thursday, we introduced you to the owners of Taphouse and Diablo and Sons Saloon. Both restaurants are nestled in Downtown Boise, and they shared with us how they were preparing for cold weather operations after relying on patio service and outdoor dining to survive the Spring and Summer. Both owners shared concerns they had over the impacts colder weather may have on their businesses long term. On Monday, those concerns grew deeper for these businesses, especially for business owners in downtown Meridian and beyond. Governor Little announced that the state would move back to Stage 3 of his re-opening plan.

Current Stage 3 Guidelines are:

INDIVIDUALS
-Vulnerable Idahoans should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical unless precautionary measures are observed.

-Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people or less.

-Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25-percent capacity.

-Physical distancing requirements are in place for gatherings of all types.

EMPLOYER
-Employees who are considered vulnerable individuals should continue to self-quarantine. Special accommodations for these employees should be made in the workplace if they are unable to work from home.

SPECIFIC TYPE EMPLOYER

-Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can operate with seating only.-Nightclubs can only operate as a bar.

-Long-term care facilities not be allowed to operate without requiring masks on their premises.

-Large venues (e.g. sporting venues) with 50 or more people must obtain approval from the local public health districts.

While local businesses have not directly felt stage 3 impacts, the uncertainty weighs heavily on business owners. Cecyle Brock, owner of Deja Brew, Laugh A Latte tells Idaho News 6 that she’s noticed more waves of dead periods since COVID-19 citing she believes it’s because “people are so scared every time there’s a change in the stages,” adding that her business “dies for a week.” These dead periods are forcing her and business owners like her to make difficult decisions like cutting hours. Brock says since limiting evening hours to two nights a week, she’s noticed, “those nights are so slow.”

Across the courtyard from Deja Brew sits Eight Thirty Common. General Manager Liana Albano says during Spring and Summer months; Eight Thirty Common was doing exceptionally well. But, while they were able to work with Coronavirus guidelines, the restaurant hasn’t been able to work with mother nature’s freezing temperatures. Albano says, “we do have reduced capacity inside, and with the patio weather in the summertime, it doubled our capacity so we were thriving right then and there, but now that it’s getting colder, it is affecting us.”

For now, both businesses are doing what they can to keep their outdoor operations running smoothly despite the weather and re-opening challenges.