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Struggling Seattle restaurants still giving back to the community

Earlier this month, an order went out banning in-person dining. That means restaurant owners are relying on delivery and takeout to keep their businesses open.

SEATTLE — Restaurant owners say everything changed overnight after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the closure of bars and dining places to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"I don't know if I have ever been this stressed out in my life," said Dan Austin, owner of Peel and Press in West Seattle and Flight Path in Burien.  

The closure has led to a dramatic drop for Shawn Padilla of Mission Cantina.

"We laid off 27 employees," said Padilla who added that sales are down 90 percent.

Paul Ritums, co-owner of the Westy Sports and Spirits, said they have had to close the Roosevelt, one of their two locations.

"We are just making sure we can come back when this is all over and be able to bring out all of the employees," said Ritums.

Rita Dixson has temporarily closed the businesses she co-owns, The Point in Burien and The Bridge in West Seattle.

"Every day I have a different emotion about it," said Dixson.

Austin laid off a third of his staff at Peel and Press, and Flight Path is closed for now.

"I had to layoff a guy who was in my wedding, like, that is one of my best friends," Austin said.

Industry profiles from the Washington Hospitality Association, built on recent data from the Department of Revenue, shows that there are 2,790 restaurants in Seattle, 567 in Tacoma, and 374 in Everett.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 4,000 restaurant owners and operators, and found nationally, 14 percent said they have permanently closed their restaurant or anticipate permanently closing in the next 30 days.

In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the new #SupportSeattleSmallBiz map, connecting people to takeout and delivery in their neighborhoods.

Despite all that, restaurant owners came together at Peel and Press on Monday to make more than 175 meals for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We are packaging up food and giving it to health care workers, people who are unemployed right now that are in the service industry," said volunteer Danielle Herrera.  

Amy Lee Derenthal, interim Executive Director of Senior Center of West Seattle, plans to distribute 30 of the meals.

"It is amazing what they are doing, and I can't say think you enough," said Derenthal. 

"All the owners are here donating their time, and that is, I think it is, amazing. These are happy tears," said an emotional Dixson. "There is just so much to give and so much love here today." 

In West Seattle, struggling businesses are still finding a way to give back.

"It is easy to give when times are good, but it is times like this that you need it the most," said Austin.

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