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:
- Business address and business name should be clearly visible from the street. Post emergency contact number on the front and rear of your business
- All exterior entrances and interior security doors should have deadbolt locks. Install latch guards no smaller than 11 inches (full length preferred) over locks
- Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass. Consider installing security film on vulnerable windows
- Remove all expensive items from window displays to deter smash and grabs
- Light the inside and outside of your business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points
- Keep your cash register open and obviously empty after closing
- Install cameras. Modern cameras have a wide variety of inexpensive wireless options if your business cannot hard wire cameras
- Alarms should be turned on and loud to discourage burglar and alert neighbors
- Check your business regularly and work with neighboring business owners to keep an eye on each other’s property
- 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
- Consider having mail stopped, held at the Post Office or forwarded to another location
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.”
(2/3) We cannot thank you enough for your support over the past week on social media and in launching our takeout, online ordering & delivery programs. 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… pic.twitter.com/sGiyQImP9U
— Optimism Brewing Co. (@OptimismBrewing) March 24, 2020
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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