Restaurants struggle to survive as coronavirus turns Seattle into a ghost town

(CNN)The Pike Place bakery sits in an area where tourists flock in Seattle. Lately, though, the whole area looks more like a ghost town.

“We’ve seen at least a 50-70% drop with tourists coming through the market and our sales compared to last year and the years before,” Alexander Vaughan, one of the bakery managers at Piroshky Piroshky, told CNN on Monday.
The first reported case of coronavirus in the United States was a man who lived near Seattle, and the state has seen the most deaths in the country, with 24. The state has also seen the most US cases, with more than 280 as of Tuesday afternoon.
    “Many restaurants” in Seattle reported a 40% drop in business last week, according to the Washington Hospitality Association.
    Restaurants are getting creative and changing how they do business to make sure they can stay open.
    Some restaurants are turning to takeout to keep up with the demand of hungry customers who are working from home to avoid the risk of coronavirus.
    “We love to have you in but understand, so now you can enjoy at your home!” Tamari Bar posted on its Facebook page.
    Other restaurants, such as Pagliacci Pizza, are offering “no-contact” delivery. That’s when a restaurant leaves food at the door.
    Or, how about a pack of a vitamin supplement Emergen-C to go with that water? The Bluwater Bistro at Leschi is doing just that, as well as upping its surface-cleaning efforts, according to its Facebook post.
    Gimmicks aside, some eateries have cut back on hours because of the decrease in demand and others have shuttered temporarily.
    Coffee shop Tempesta has closed temporarily “due to the social and economic impacts” of the coronavirus, it said on Facebook.
    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced new and expanded Washington Employment Security Department rules to provide relief for workers and businesses who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
    Workers will be able to get unemployment benefits if their workplace needs to reduce hours or close temporarily because of quarantines or sick workers who fall ill with coronavirus, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
    Piroshky Piroshky has cut down staffing to full-time employees only, Greg Ioki, another bakery manager, told CNN.
    “We’re hoping to maintain as many employees as possible,” Ioki said. “All of our managerial staff is taking a voluntary 20% pay cut in their bottom line so we can ensure that we can keep the rest of our employees happy and employed.”
      The bakery is also looking for other ways to increase its revenue since there aren’t as many customers coming in. Ioki said the bakery is contacting local co-ops and grocery stores who are not able to keep up with the amount of bread needed to feed people.
      “We’re slowly moving our production kitchen into doing bread productions so we can be that company in Seattle that is supplying our people with what they need right now, especially when it’s tough like this,” he said.

      Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

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