Small businesses around Seattle say coronavirus is having a big impact on business. A number of restaurants have reported a dramatic drop in sales and a handful of restaurants have even decided to close as a result.
Chef Tom Douglas confirmed to KING 5 that his company was suspending operations due to slow business and social distancing guidelines.
Douglas said, "We are not able to work and pay our teams if there are no customers so we have decided to suspend operations. We hope to reopen as soon as these trying times have passed."
In Wallingford, at Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Founder and CEO Joe Fugere has decided to forgo his pay for now in order to make sure vendors and employees are paid.
"We are down 20 to 25%. If this continues, in six months we could lose up to $3 million in revenue, and our employees could lose up to a million dollars in lost wages,” Fugere said.
Jill Morris is the dining room manager.
"The staff concern is that they're not going to be able to pay their rent or pay for food if they don't have enough hours or if people aren't coming out and tipping," said Morris. “I don't think anyone really knows the right way to go about this, but I'm proud of how we're going about this.”
Sous chef Dana Bjurstrom said management has been very forthcoming about where the restaurant is in terms of sales.
“It is scary. This is what I love to do. This is my career, and I don't want to see it slip away,” said Bjurstrom. “I know we're going to do everything we can to keep, not only ourselves, but the community, the restaurant community in Seattle alive.”
Wednesday afternoon, on Capitol Hill, small business owners talked about their concerns.
"I am going to tell you right now I have never seen anything like this," said Terra Plata owner and chef Tamara Murphy.
Belltown's Local 360 announced their closure this week.
Chef Ryan Suddendorf said that he has decided to close Arriba Cantina in Seattle.
“Unfortunately, when looking at our finances, I just couldn't continue on and not be able to pay our employees," said Suddendorf.
Chef Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks said her business slowed down so much that she had to lay off some staff.
"Because as of Saturday, we had lost over $50,000 in revenue for one month,” said Brown.
Seattle's mayor has formed a small business recovery task force. Business owners said they are looking at ways the local and federal governments can help. They also say if people don't want to go out, they should consider ordering in and continuing to support small businesses.
What are coronavirus symptoms?
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization. Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to DOH.
Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.
A new Washington call center has been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #