COVID-19 in Seattle
Shit is getting real!
First off, my apologies for the profanity.
I don’t normally swear in my blogs or other correspondance but there is just no other way to say it. The COVID-19 virus has rooted down here in the Pacific Northwest and imploded the area’s economy. Seattle’s small business community have been hit hard by COVID-19. While the death count is still relatively low, the truth of the matter is that this is just the beginning and the future looks brutal.
Let me start off by saying that I personally am not afraid of my health or the health of my children. Maybe I should be, but deep down I’m not. I think that we will be fine were we to get infected. All data that I have read shows the mortality rate for those infected for people under 45 years old in good health are extremely low. I worry about my parents who live across the Puget Sound in a town called Poulsbo. They are in their 70’s and, while in good health, are at serious risk if they catch the bug.
What’s really at risk here?
What I am truly concerned about is the well being and prosperity of my fellow colleagues in the hospitality industry. There are businesses shuttering left and right. Some temporarily but some are forever. With city wide bans of gatherings of over 250 people, Seattle musicians, theater artists, and conference workers have lost all income instantly in the 6th most expensive city in the country. Restaurants have been closing, some for good and many just temporarily. Most alarming of which was the decision of local celebrity chef Tom Douglas yesterday by making the stunning but logical decision to close the doors to 13 of his restaurants temporarily. We have no sports matches so we have no stadium workers clocking hours at any events. The once thriving economy has fallen off a cliff in a matter of weeks.
You haven’t been able to get hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and anti-microbial soap in Seattle in weeks. Nobody knows how to be tested and nobody has any assurance they’ll be able to pay their rent this month. To top it all off today they announced all public schools are closing for a minimum of six weeks. So if your are lucky enough to still have a job to go to here in Seattle, now you need to find someone who can watch your child 8-10 hours per day. Let alone continue the education that they were receiving.
The physical death count is alarming but the death of small businesses is terrifying!
The true victim of COVID-19 here in Seattle has been the paralysis of Seattle’s economy and hospitality industry. Emerald City Comicon was just “postponed” but we are all anticipating a full cancellation if things don’t get better soon. That is a death blow to local comic book stores. However, it is nice to see the community rallying around them. At least a dozen conferences have been cancelled at the time I am writing this. Seattle hotels are reeling right now. When normally hotels would be operating at 60%-90% they are more likely at 5%-10% which forces hotel management to cut the hours to their staff. We are in uncharted territory right now and the scariest thing is that nobody knows what is going to happen next.
The response to this dilemma is terrifying. The markets are in free fall. They are closing DisneyLand for Fuck’s sake. I don’t know where we go from here. That rosy glow of golden Summer Cruise Ships on the horizon doesn’t seem as certain as it did just a week ago. In the meantime, we’ll hunker down and stay healthy while Seattle’s economy dies of starvation before our eyes.
Please understand that I love my city. I love to show people my city. This is why I started Totally Seattle Tours. I am one of the most passionate people you will ever meet when it comes to my pride in my hometown. We believe we will get past this and the city will thrive again because, well its just too beautiful to stay away from. I still can’t wait for gorgeous summer days on a ferry boat in the Puget Sound watching my kids chase each other on the upper deck. The truth of the matter is I don’t know what the summer will bring to my business, my family or my city. The summer has always brought a harvest to the Puget Sound and that remains true today. Seems like this year summer may bring a drought we haven’t been planning on.