Businesses brace for more COVID restrictions as WA says measures are ‘under consideration’

VIDEO: Businesses brace for another possible rollback of restrictions as COVID cases rise

Public health leaders and Gov. Jay Inslee are considering increased COVID restrictions as coronavirus cases surge in Washington state.

It has businesses bracing. The cold and rainy weather has arrived, which is already taking a toll on restaurants and outdoor dining.

“Very anxious, extremely anxious,” said Dawn Fredryk, who lives in Seattle.

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Businesses have done everything they can to adapt. On Ballard Ave, the outdoor dining bubbles at San Fermo get a lot of attention, but almost every restaurant has outdoor seating. The street is filled with canopies of all colors and sizes.

The Gerald, a smaller restaurant that serves craft cocktails and Korean fare, can squeeze three distanced tables outside their storefront.

“We’re chugging along. It’s not easy,” said Wes Yoo, owner of The Gerald.

They’re trying to stay afloat while taking extra steps to be as responsible as possible.

“I went with these lattice walls that I built just to provide a little more privacy but still to keep airflow,” Yoo said.

As COVID cases surge, businesses are closely watching every announcement from public health.

“It’s just a lot of uncertainty. That’s been the theme since March. We don’t really know what’s going to happen next,” Yoo said. “Trying to navigate the ever-changing rules that are coming out.”

Some stores, like Camelion - a furniture shop, are closing.

Many others have already closed for good - like a popular vegan restaurant, No Bones Beach Club.

Next door, Mighty-O donuts said they’re doing pretty well, all things considered.

“It’s definitely strange being in the neighborhood and seeing so much of it like disappear before our eyes. We’re fortunate enough to do as well as we are doing,” said Kevin Shoop, who works at the store.

Yoo said he’s not sure if The Gerald could survive another shutdown or rollback on restrictions.

“The honest answer to that is I don’t know. When the restrictions happened in March to June, that period, if you had asked me a year ago - I would’ve said I wouldn’t be able to survive that. But we found a way to make it happen,” Yoo said.

Now whatever comes next, they’ll roll with the punches. Inslee’s office said in an email on Thursday that while no new restrictions are being announced, “such measures are actively under consideration.”

“It’s not all about my business. If restrictions need to happen to flatten the curve and flatten this pandemic, then so be it,” Yoo said.

The governor’s office said an announcement will come early next week – possibly Monday – on what steps will be taken to curb the surge in coronavirus cases.