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With tighter restrictions bringing more Capitol Hill closures, Seattle Police have 11 tips for ‘securing your business’

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Enough small businesses, restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops are closing down and boarding up that the Seattle Police Department has published a guide to “securing your business.”

“As all of our communities are facing this uncertain time, the Seattle Police Department would like to provide some specific suggestions for businesses who now have modified hours and/or have had to temporarily close,” the city’s safety officials posted in an announcement shared with community groups.

Many businesses are now shutting down for the interim — and many will opt for the plywood CHS reported on earlier this week where neighborhood taggers and street artists have mixed to fill the boards with art and messages.

Seattle Police’s elleven recommendations for businesses shutting down during the COVID-19 restrictions are pretty straightforward stuff:

  1. Business address and business name should be clearly visible from the street. Post emergency contact number on the front and rear of your business
  2. All exterior entrances and interior security doors should have deadbolt locks. Install latch guards no smaller than 11 inches (full length preferred) over locks
  3. Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass. Consider installing security film on vulnerable windows
  4. Remove all expensive items from window displays to deter smash and grabs
  5. Light the inside and outside of your business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points
  6. Keep your cash register open and obviously empty after closing
  7. Install cameras. Modern cameras have a wide variety of inexpensive wireless options if your business cannot hard wire cameras
  8. Alarms should be turned on and loud to discourage burglar and alert neighbors
  9. Check your business regularly and work with neighboring business owners to keep an eye on each other’s property
  10. For carry out businesses, move tip jar behind service counter out of sight of customers and replace with a sign informing customers to give tips directly to workers
  11. Consider having mail stopped, held at the Post Office or forwarded to another location

Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing is the latest in the neighborhood to consider the advice.

After efforts to keep its business moving and its workers employed with online orders for its E Union-brewed beer and curbside pickup, the just over four-year-old brewery announced Tuesday a temporary shutdown and layoffs.

“Staying home is the first and most important thing we can all do right now to help stop the spread of coronavirus and to save our community,” the brewery said in its announcement. “Unfortunately for us, this means lay-offs. We decided to do this as a team at an all hands remote meeting, even though it means personal sacrifice. The majority of our staff will be on employee standby which means unemployment.”

Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a major tightening of social distancing restrictions hoped to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 by shutting down all non-essential businesses and industries including most commercial construction and non-grocery retail, and restricting gatherings of any size where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Owner Gay Gilmore said the Optimism staff concluded that the best way to do their part to help contain the virus was to shut down.  “We could stay open,” Gilmore said, “but they decided it was better to close and respect the ordinance.”

Gilmore said Optimism dug deep into Washington unemployment rules but the solutions are weaker than they need to be and they are watching the federal emergency relief package with interest. Some solutions could be the answer Optimism needs to get back on track. Others have much more negative outcomes.

In the meantime, the brewery is trying to keep its shutdown positive. Optimism is launching “Project Rainbow” to cover the windows of the old auto row showroom building it calls home with “art, thoughts, and inspirational quotes.” You can mail your rainbow art or drop it by.

Thanks to the art, Optimism won’t be ordering giant plywood panels and boarding up.

“If we have to be closed, we want the building to turn into a piece of art and be inspiring,” Gilmore said.

UPDATE: The GSBA sent over a link to their COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Resources page where the organization is compiling information about economic relief efforts plus information for business owners and employees about unemployment, sick time, and more.

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6 thoughts on “With tighter restrictions bringing more Capitol Hill closures, Seattle Police have 11 tips for ‘securing your business’

  1. I don’t get why some businesses are boarding up with plywood. Is there really that much risk for vandalism and/or theft? Whereas business owners have a perfect right to do this, it feels like an over-reaction. And it certainly contributes to the “doom and gloom” atmosphere on our streets these days.

    • It’s sad but true. I’ve managed & lived in a bldg on lower queen anne for 20 yrs. Sunday I saw the most vandalism, break in attempts and trespassers walking up to my door and nit leaving that I’ve ever seen. Called spd non emergency about graffiti on a neighbors bldg and they said they’re only taking calls now from property owners. Unsure if it’s really true because it sounds crazy but 2 different operators told me and a neighbor this. I mean… how many people in LQA are property owners?! It’s all renters. Then 2 different times after that guys who looked homeless and schizophrenic walked up to my door and pulled on the handle. The last guy wouldn’t leave when 3 neighbors told him to so I threw pinecones from an xmas wreath at him thankfully it scared him off. Strong arm robberies spiked in our neighborhood blotter. But if you haven’t noticed yet be thankful – spd have been told or encouraged to not go out on any more calls. Get yo holiday pinecones gathered up and stay safe out there.

    • I just had a thought….maybe landlords and/or insurance companies are requiring some businesses to board up?

      I’d like to think that, in this time of crisis, everyone would respect private and public property, and not vandalize or steal. But that’s probably naive.

      • After I watched a man violently steal a woman’s purse and shoot at another man in front of Hot Mama’s about a week ago, I’m pretty sure business owners are just being safe.

    • My workplace (Restaurant/Bar) isn’t boarded up. Someone broke in Monday morning, 3/23. We see on the security camera that they cased the place in the 1am hour, and came back a couple hours later to do the job. Drilled through our door and was in and out within 60 seconds. In this case, the person went straight to the ATM and wasn’t able to get into it (we had emptied it out anyway). The person then runs out empty-handed. So yes, sadly, people are breaking in to closed bars/restaurants.

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