EVERETT, Wash. — Call it a delay of game. The Everett Silvertips will not drop the puck until December 4, at the earliest, because of continuing coronavirus concerns.
It's another hard hit to a city already struggling to stay on its feet.
The Silvertips, a junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League, bring thousands of fans to downtown Everett for their 34 home games.
But those seats have been empty since the season shut down in March, when the statewide lockdown took effect.
The Tips are by far the biggest game in town for restaurants like Brooklyn Bros. Pizza, right across the street.
"Oh, it's huge," says manager Zoey Rodriguez. "It's a huge amount of business. Normally, our line comes out the door for the Silvertips and it'll go all the way around the corner."
Everett is already seeing some bars and restaurants close due to coronavirus.
Some of the closures are temporary, but others are permanent.
The city has doled out a half-million dollars in federal aid to small businesses, but that will not be enough to save all of them if coronavirus is not brought under control soon.
"I've always felt the City of Everett is a very resilient city," says Everett Senior Communications Officer Julio Cortes. "Our businesses are incredibly resilient, but it's getting tougher and tougher. We need to come up with innovative ideas to keep our businesses surviving. We need to make sure to continue to offer all we can as a city to our businesses and encourage our residents to safely support them, as well."
To that end, the city is now allowing approved businesses to use sidewalks and parking spots in front of their places for customers. While they're called "streateries," any business can apply.
Downtown Everett Assciation Executive Director Liz Stenning says every little bit helps.
"It's emotional, for sure. Businesses put their heart and soul into running their operations and every single one involves people -- the employees and the business owners."
As for the Silvertips, the team says they'll need at least 50% capacity at Angel of The Winds Arena just to break even. That attendance level won't likely come until Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan.
Officials say it's one more reason to wear a face mask and keep everyone healthy.