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Gov. Inslee's warning of coronavirus restrictions worries business owners

The owner of LTD Bar & Grill in Fremont said a second COVID-19 shutdown, without government assistance, would likely be the end of his business.

SEATTLE — Thursday night at LTD Bar and Grill in Fremont usually means football. But owner Jack Cheung fears this week could be the last Thursday night game he’s open for a while.

“We’ve been trying our best, you know, by going by the rules, and it's just so hard for us,” said Cheung.

Gov. Jay Inslee pleaded with Washingtonians on Thursday to "rethink Thanksgiving," because of rising COVID-19 cases.

While no new mandates were announced Thursday, Inslee warned that rising cases could mean tighter restrictions. An announcement could come as soon as next week.

LTD has been one of few businesses to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. Cheung noted they’ve gotten creative with outdoor seating, temperature checks, and reservations among other changes. As Cheung watched Inslee’s address, he worried about the public’s fatigue over the virus.

“If you know, people aren't more disciplined, then yeah, we're gonna see… he will close us down,” said Cheung. “He will close businesses down… and I understand why he will do it, but I just hope he doesn’t.”

Jon Scholes, the CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, also worries of additional closings.

“Our businesses have been through so much,” said Scholes. “More than 200 [businesses] across the city of Seattle, small businesses, permanent closures that aren't coming back, so we can't afford to go backwards.”

Scholes said without government funding amid a second shutdown, more businesses will be forced to close and implores people to have an individual responsibility to save the economy.

“We got to get to the other side, we got to continue to do what we've been doing over the spring,” said Scholes. “And summer to really lead the nation in combating this virus.”

Cheung said for him, he knows the reality of another closure.

“Our chances of surviving [another shutdown] are very slim,” he said.

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