Brian Styron works on a drink at Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse on Friday in Mukilteo. Across Snohomish County, restaurants, bars and other businesses are back at full capacity, following the drop of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Brian Styron works on a drink at Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse on Friday in Mukilteo. Across Snohomish County, restaurants, bars and other businesses are back at full capacity, following the drop of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish County businesses welcome state’s reopening

“It means the world being back at 100%,” Diamond Knot manager Korey MacKenzie said.

EVERETT — It had been 470 days since Shawn O’Donnell’s in south Everett operated at full capacity, but that changed Wednesday.

Glasses clinked and staff buzzed throughout the jam-packed restaurant floor, where customers filled every table and most bar stools.

“There was a lot of really good energy and mojo in the restaurant,” manager Kristen Nannery said. “It was noisy and sounded like a lively Irish pub should.”

Across Snohomish County, restaurants, bars and other businesses are back at full capacity, following the drop of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week.

In Mukilteo, the Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse reopened fully Wednesday at 11 a.m. and has seen a steady flow of customers ever since, operations manager Korey MacKenzie said.

“It means the world being back at 100%,” he said. “Revenue per square foot is an important metric in the restaurant business, so having unused square footage makes it very challenging.”

MacKenzie is expecting a busy Fourth of July weekend at the restaurant and bar, he said, where pre-pandemic regulars are returning and new customers are eager to get out of the house.

“I think a great restaurant is sort of like a community hub where people can break bread and socialize,” he said. “People are excited to sit next to someone they’ve never met before at the bar top and share a story.”

With the switch flipped to full capacity, some restaurants are asking people to be patient as finding new staff remains an issue.

That’s not the case at Diamond Knot, MacKenzie said.

“We saw this challenge and got really creative, spending a lot of time finding applicants,” he said. “We’re finding people and we’re feeling a really positive vibe.”

People sit are the bar top at Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse on Friday in Mukilteo. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

People sit are the bar top at Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse on Friday in Mukilteo. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

But some businesses are opting to ease back into pre-COVID capacity.

Early on in the pandemic, Langley on Whidbey Island issued a proclamation to mask up, even while outdoors.

The artsy seaside village is a popular day trip for tourists from mainland areas with higher infection rates than the island. Today, some businesses still require face coverings be worn.

At the Ott & Hunter wine tasting room on First Street, the plan is to remain at reduced capacity in the venue with panoramic views of Saratoga Passage and beyond.

“We like taking things slow,” server Tami Smith said. “We have less tables. We like the setup we have. We get to interact with people. People come here to taste the wine. We can talk to them about the wine. They like it. We like that.”

Live music starts up on Saturdays next week. And wine sales during the last year helped make up for the loss of patronage.

“We are fortunate that we had a nice strong wine club,” Smith said.

It’s not just restaurants and bars feeling the relief of Wednesday’s reopening.

Pandemic-related restrictions pretty much erased the 2020 wedding season as couples postponed nuptials or at least the parties. That put vendors out of work and left venues unused.

Even applications for marriage licenses plummeted in Snohomish County.

But now they’re on the rebound. There were a total of 1,067 applications filed between April 1 and June 30, up from 760 in the same period in 2020.

And more applications means more weddings.

“Everybody is excited about being back. But there is some caution,” said PJ Parsons of Snohomish, owner of PJ Parsons Presents, a combination DJ, emcee and day-of-wedding coordinator operation.

“We’ve got a little bit of trauma response because this was so scary and out of our control,” she said of the industry. “We are watching the news. We know it is not over. But right now we are going to get people working again.”

Some vendors face a lack of bartenders and catering staff.

It’s not because the pay is too low, Parsons said. Rather, folks who had those jobs had to pivot to other means of employment in the pandemic so “there are just not bodies available right now.”

The state’s reopening also means fewer safety rules for religious services.

But that didn’t matter at The Pursuit NW church in Snohomish because its leaders ignored them. A letter from the state Department of Health in the Spring didn’t change their minds.

“We’ve identified as reopening for the last year-and-a-half,” said Russell Johnson, the lead pastor. “We don’t serve the state. Jay Inslee’s opinion on how the church conducts its business means absolutely nothing to me.”

At Temple Beth Or in Everett, congregants have spent the past 16 months worshiping and celebrating over Zoom. Now, they are moving earnestly and patiently to resume services in-person as early as mid-July.

“The last thing any of us would want to do is jeopardize the health and safety of anyone in our community,” said Rabbi Rachel Kort noting that a rule in the Jewish tradition says “the greatest obligation we have is to protect human life.”

Online services will continue to be available as well.

“As we look out to the High Holy Days, we are really making sure we have multiple means of access for our community,” she said.

Herald writer Andrea Brown contributed to this report.

Jerry Cornfield:; @dospueblos

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

The first flight for United Airlines servicing Paine Field taxis to the gate on March 31, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Come October, United Airlines will discontinue flights at Paine Field

The airline is one of two commercial carriers at the Everett airport. United flies to Denver.

Community leaders and officials break ground at the Port of Everett's Norton Terminal at the former Kimberly-Clark mill site along the waterfront Thursday morning in Everett on July 15, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Legacy of pollution makes Everett port project ‘challenging’

The former Kimberly-Clark mill site is nearing the end of a complex cleanup, part of a $36 million terminal project.

File - In this Sept. 24, 2014 file photo, smoke hangs over Reno-Tahoe International Airport as a plane takes off in Reno, Nev. A shortage of jet fuel, coupled with supply chain issues and an urgent demand from firefighting aircraft, continues to cause problems at airports around the West. In Nevada, state and federal lawmakers said they are investigating a possible shortage of jet fuel that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the coming days. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine, File)
Airports in the US West dealing with shortage of jet fuel

Supply chain issues and an urgent demand from firefighting aircraft have combined to cause problems.

sandwich with ham, tomatoes, lettuce and toast isolated on white background, healthy breakfast, lunch
You voted: The best darn sandwich in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people have their favorites

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Seattle. Washington state sued Johnson & Johnson on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, claiming the company was negligent when it used deceptive marketing to say the drugs were effective for treating pain and were unlikely to cause addiction. The lawsuit filed Thursday says the company that supplies raw materials used to make opiates drove the pharmaceutical industry to recklessly expand the production of the drugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington AG rejects opioids settlement, wants trial

The proposal would pay Washington about $527.5 million over 18 years if cities and counties opt in.

This photo provided by Blue Origin,   Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, exits the  Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule after it parachuted safely down to the launch area with passengers Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.  (Blue Origin via AP)
Blue Origin’s Bezos reaches space on 1st passenger flight

The Amazon founder is the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft.

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2020 file photo, a motorcyclist cruises past the Renton, Wash., Boeing plant where 737's are built. Boeing is temporarily lowering its delivery target for the 787 Dreamliner after discovering additional work that will need to be performed on the aircraft. The company said Tuesday, July 13, 2021, that the 787 production rate will temporarily be lower than five per month and will gradually return to that rate. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, File)
Boeing cuts production on the 787 to address a new flaw

The problem is on the forward pressure bulkhead, which keeps the plane’s interior pressurized.

State makes low interest loans available to small businesses

The state Department of Commerce is partnering with financial institutions and community-based organizations.

Commercial center taking shape off Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

A bowling alley? Maybe. Potential tenants are showing interest and locals have their own wish list.

Wil Peterson is a cashier at Fred Meyer in Everett, but won't receive the temporary $4 per hour hazard pay increase that many grocery workers in unincorporated Snohomish County will receive.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Geography defines who gets grocery hazard pay — and who doesn’t

The county required at least eight grocery stores to temporarily boost pay in unincorporated areas.

Jessica Ward runs a stacker at Hampton Mill on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. The mill is asking for more trees from Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Hampton Lumber makes big purchase for small-town Darrington

The town’s largest employer acquired 145,000 acres of timber land from Weyerhaeuser.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Arlington and Marysville trade open space for local jobs

Light-industrial development is transforming the farms and fields where the two cities join.