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Tourists, locals return to Seattle's Pike Place Market as pandemic restrictions ease

One of Seattle's most iconic tourist destinations is seeing a resurgence in visitors from tourists and locals alike as summer gets in full swing.

SEATTLE — As tourism rebounds in Washington state, Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market is experiencing a big jump in visitors and it has many vendors excited. 

The 114-year-old market became somewhat of a ghost town once the coronavirus pandemic hit last year and Gov. Jay Inslee implemented stay-at-home orders.  

But more than a year later, the popular tourist spot is as busy as ever, especially with summer in full swing. 

"It’s busier than I expected it to be," said Angela Parriott, owner of Coastal Elevation. Her small shop has been a fixture at Pike Place Market for 14 years. 

"I think people are just grateful to be out and to be doing something that is really normal and have other people to talk to," said Parriott, noting the influx of visitors at the market.

The pandemic brought a lot of economic uncertainty for Parriott's shop. After losing two employees and a year of income, she said she's excited to see people back at the market. 

"I have to say, I feel like the general vibe of everyone is a lot of being really grateful and happy and interactive," she said. 

Vendors on all levels of the market said they're happy to see the halls filled with people again. "It’s like the floodgates opened and everyone is like, oh, we can come out now," said Jason Brown, the owner of Old Seattle Paperworks.

Brown’s shop has been at Pike Place Market for 43 years, however, he says none has been slower than 2020. 

"It was almost like dead time on a Tuesday, on a weekday but then it just overnight, blew up... even on the weekdays," said Brown.

Now, as tourists and locals alike pack Pike Place Market, the vendors are moving forward with cautious optimism. 

"It does feel like it’s leading to a new normal, whatever that might look like," Parriott said. "I feel really good about the market being open and I feel really good about being here."