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1 year later, Seattle's small business owners are 'out of options'

Queen Mary Tea room in Seattle faces permanent closure after 33 years in business due to the struggles of the coronavirus pandemic.

SEATTLE — One of Seattle's unique tea shops is now turning to customers as a last ditch effort to try and stay open. 

Queen Mary Tea Room shut down its restaurant in March 2020 when coronavirus restrictions were put in place. Now, nearly a full year later, owner Mary Greengo feels like she is out of options.

"Every day you wake up and it's something different," Greengo said. "We've shut off our phones, our internet and just about everything. It's all we can do."

Queen Mary Tea room offers a royalty-like experience where generations of families can "make memories."

But Greengo is frustrated that there appears to be no end in sight. She's now turning to GoFundMe to stay in business.

She has around 30 employees. Most were able to apply for unemployment.

"It's just a waiting game. But how long can we wait?", she said. 

Greengo's Tea Emporium across the street from her restaurant remains open so she can sell her house-made teas. And there is to-go service. But like other shops in the service industry, it's the unique experience that keeps customers coming back.

Gov. Jay Inslee's mandate only allows businesses to reopen at 25% capacity.

"We're so small, it really doesn't make sense for us to open unless we are all full capacity," Greengo said. "The clock is ticking."

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