Closure of two Seattle piers hurting waterfront businesses

VIDEO: Waterfront businesses facing another setback with Pier 57, 58 closures

SEATTLE — The collapse at Pier 58 is having a ripple effect on business along Seattle’s waterfront.

Tourist attractions near the Great Wheel were starting to rebound after the COVID-19 shutdown.

However, that area is facing another setback now that Piers 57 and 58 are closed.

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Businesses were hoping once the smoke cleared, they’d get more visitors. But now the Great Wheel and all of Miners Landing are at a standstill, and no one knows when it will all start back up again.

He isn’t playing any sour notes, but Seattle musician Eido says he feels the impact of the two closed piers.

“It’s like a double whammy, you know, because of the COVID,” said Eido. “We had that. And then I used to play at the waterfall.”

That waterfall once stood on Pier 58, until the pier partially collapsed eight days ago. Two workers for Evergreen Concrete had to be rescued from Elliott Bay.

Days later, the city closed Miners Landing and Pier 57, in fear that it, too, might follow its neighbor to the north. That brought the Great Wheel to a stop.

“I’m a long time Seattleite, so I was really kind of surprised with all of that happening,” said Suellen Eberhart, Sedro-Woolley. “But I know they’re old piers. But it affects a lot of the businesses and everything.”

Indeed, it does, says Bob Donegan, the president of Ivar’s Seafood.

“The most common attraction people visit on the waterfront is the aquarium,” said Donegan. “The second most common thing people visit on the waterfront is the Great Wheel.”

Then Donegan laid out the sobering facts.

“So, in 2019, we had 6.7 million customers buy something on the waterfront,” he said. “We think this year we’ll have 1.5 million people buy something on the waterfront.”

Despite COVID-19, there are still some tourists like Kristopher Williams of North Carolina and Dashawn Johnson of Indiana.

“If I go, I go,” said Johnson. “But I’m not going to go unhappy and unfulfilled. You know what I’m saying? And I get to spend time with my brother. Not going to let a virus stop, no.”

The city of Seattle did resume some work at Pier 58 Monday. But they still have no estimate on when Pier 57 can reopen.

Waterfront businesses will be handing out three-hour parking vouchers Tuesday to entice more visitors and ease some of the economic pain all of this is causing.