Bethany Montgomery, Staff Writer
Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s initial Stay-At-Home order on March 25, Washington State residents are now expecting to remain at home until at least May 4. Faced with the possibility of an extension, however, the governor’s office has not yet produced a plan to reopen Washington’s economy.
During a press conference on April 15, Gov. Inslee stressed that the key to reopening is largely dependent on Washington’s ability to quickly distribute and meet COVID-19 testing demands. Though each state will be constructing their own plan to reopen the economy, Washington recently joined with Oregon and California to share resources and form some consistent initiatives across the West Coast.
Despite the numerous small business loans, and unemployment and stimulus checks, stores and restaurants struggle to stay in business while employees are trying to have sufficient hours while remaining healthy and safe. Across the state, residents and businesses have been taking extra steps to ensure the safety of everyone, while still keeping all essential services open.
Washington residents and businesses have been taking extra steps for the community. According to the New Yorker, two restaurant workers raised $60,000 in a Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund in a local GoFundMe campaign for Seattle restaurants and bar workers most affected by the shut-down. Across the Pacific Northwest, families looking for methods of self-sustaining food sources are planting a revived form of Victory Gardens, for easy accessibility to healthy food—not only serving for the benefit of limited social interaction, but also as a learning opportunity for locals who are eager to learn.
In Olympia, local supermarket, Ralph’s Thriftway, has increased their Groceries-to-Go service and promoted online shopping followed by curbside pick-up with no service fees. Popular restaurants like The Reef in downtown Olympia rely heavily on in-person business, and are offering a limited stay-at-home dinner option for guests. Other local restaurants like Casa Mia, are also switching to a temporary online option for their customers, taking extra precautions to keep employees working and customers safe.
According to an interview with Thurston Talk, local business owner Annie Evans of the Spruce Skin and Wax Shoppe has also shifted to online retail for the time being in order to provide for her customers as well as maintain her business during the shut-down.
“The creativity needing to adapt and change spawned from the driving force to maintain customer-centricity and be able to continue to support my valued employees,” Evans said.
Olympia local Jennifer Penrose of Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy has provided several free instructional videos to accompany her recently released book, “Run Forever! Secrets to Common Running and Walking Injuries,” in addition to a few virtual programs for their popular yoga and tai chi classes.
The U.S. Martial Arts Center is also taking the same approach and providing streamed classes for their members.
The Lacey MakerSpace on the Saint Martin’s campus has begun production of facemasks for local hospitals and the community, appreciating supply donations and volunteers willing to sew, assemble, or 3D print masks and supplies.
Returning to normal will likely take several months, gradually removing implemented changes and social distancing rules—beginning with the limited number of customers permitted in businesses slowly increasing. However, this temporary shut-down has prompted some business owners to develop further marketing strategies, like online ordering, that will benefit their companies in the future. Community members have also stepped up to support the community by promoting local businesses, who directly affect the local economy and who have felt the effects of the quarantine more than chain stores and restaurants.