Restaurants in Alaska allowed to open Friday, but not all restaurants will

Restaurants like the Pump House and Cookie Jar are allowed to reopen dine-in services starting...
Restaurants like the Pump House and Cookie Jar are allowed to reopen dine-in services starting Friday, but they won't be able to open that soon. (John Dougherty/KTVF)(KTVF)
Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 5:01 PM AKDT
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On Wednesday Governor Dunleavy issued health mandate 16 which allows restaurants to begin resuming limited dine-in services. While many are excited to be able to serve customers again, not all restaurants will be opening right away.

"There are some things we have to understand first, I don't want to run afoul of the DEC or the State Government before I open. I have to plan," said Cookie Jar owner Bob Burcell.

He said they are grateful for the chance to open, but they don’t think they will be able to on the first day. One of the delays is trying to understand the requirements. "So people walk through the door, I've got tables available, they want to sit down, what do I do, tell them to go back out to the parking lot and call me and make a reservation and then come back in, or can I just seat them?” Burcell wondered. “I think I am going to go ahead and solve that one myself, and go ahead and seat them."

Another requirement in the mandate is that only members of the same household sit together. Burcell wonders how he is supposed to be able to know if someone is being honest about being from the same house.

The requirements aren’t the only concern. Vivian Bubbel owns the Pump House which has been closed for the last six weeks. She said they can’t open back up in three days.

“We just have to have product in the house, we don't have any produce, very little dairy," Bubbel said.

She showed her empty coolers and refrigerators, and her walk in cooler was filled with alcohol that normally would be at the bar. All this means she won’t be able to open until next week.

"We are going to take our time and do it right and we are going to be open May first. Friday, May first will be the first day we will be open," she said.

Bubbel and Burcell both hope that Dunleavy will reach out the restaurant industry and make adjustments that will make the operation run smoother. No matter what happens though, they say it’s a step in the right direction.

"You know the good news is we get to open up a little bit, we get to get out of our houses a little. That is the positive thing that I think is probably should all be focusing on right now,” Bubbel said.

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