For some Capitol Hill small businesses, the coming weeks will be like the rest — making ends meet with reduced capacities and a reliance on new or rapidly scaled up revenue streams. For others, the new restrictions going into effect this week to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle are the start of new shutdowns and “temporary closures.”
Restaurants and bars will be particularly hard hit. The prohibition on indoor service begins Wednesday and already some have said they cannot afford to stay open. Broadway’s Corvus and Co. announced it will close “until indoor dining can resume.” Until then, they’re clearing out with a 50% off sale on food. Other Capitol Hill bars will likely follow.
The food, drink, and shopping restrictions are necessary, health officials says, because people are getting sick at work and the virus is spreading rapidly in home settings with friends and loved ones. Monday, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has identified “a handful of employer outbreaks” and that bars and restaurants have been the most common source in those business-related situations.
UPDATE 11/18/2020: Industry advocates are pointing out that restaurants and bars are being unfairly singled out. According to the state’s latest sector report (PDF), Washington’s leading employment categories by total case count are Health Care and Social Assistance, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and then Accommodation and Food Services.
The new lockdown is described as “temporary” with plans for the state to reassess the crisis by mid-December. In the meantime, restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service while outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Tables are limited to parties of five. For those venues with a good sidewalk and street setup, the city’s easing of permitting for outdoor dining, tents, and heating should help.
Others, like Mamnoon, for example, have announced they will step up their takeout efforts by adding things like expanded service hours for lunch deliveries.
Below is a selection of updates from Capitol Hill businesses about the coming lockdown:
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- Olmstead: With Inslee’s decision, we have decided to close today 11/16 until Thursday 11/19 to switch to a take out only program with more details to follow. This year has been difficult, but we want to thank you and this community for all of your support and kindness. It’s important that we close for now for everyone’s health and safety. Don’t worry Seattle, we’ll be back!
- Victrola: We are suspending indoor seating until December 14th. Thank you for your support. We are still offering coffee to go.
- Dacha Diner: We will remain open and continue to provide a safe to-go experience for our community and workers. Our dining room will remain closed — as it has since the beginning of the pandemic — until science says it is safe. Let’s look out for each other and keep our friends and neighbors safe. #maskon #wewillgetthroughthis @govinslee Thank you for looking out for us and doing your job. This has been a horrible year for many. Operating two restaurants during a pandemic and shifting our business model to accommodate has been a struggle. That said, we know the safety and lives of our fellow Seattleites is far more important. We are committed to being apart of the solution in slowing this pandemic down. Thank you for your time and work. #頑張る
- Sugar Pill Apothecary: We are so thankful for a Governor who believes in science and is a leader in instituting precautions to help slow the spread of this awful virus. Our policies here all along have been designed to keep you and ourselves as safe as possible, and we have already been – ever since reopening our doors – much more than in compliance with the new restrictions that are about to be announced this week. We’ll keep reminding you about how best to support us, as well as our beloved neighborhood businesses everywhere.
- Life on Mars: Hey ya’ll. The good news is, we can still do outdoor seating. The bad news is, setting up more outdoor seating is so expensive and the weather is shit for the next 3 months. There are no good solutions here. We fully support Inslee’s shut down order though. Thank you. We also support the government locally and nationally doing SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Not loans. Not deferment. Actual help. No one has any money to pay anyone back. We also hope people in Georgia vote like our lives depend on it. They do. If you want to help the bar order merch and records from the site, get food to-go, order our Thanksgiving food, tip our amazing staff (this 0-10% we are seeing is WEAK btw) and continue to advocate for small businesses and their employees. We can make it through this but it’s going to be one dark winter we must make it through first.
- Mamnoon: 🌈Starting tomorrow we will be offering lunch again from 11:30 to 2:30!! In accordance with Washington’s new restrictions we will be back to takeout and delivery only Tuesdays through Saturdays for both lunch and dinner ❤️ We are thinking of the entire restaurant community right now and determined to get through these hard times while still giving our community the mamnoon experience at home. We’ll see you Tuesday for lunch! 💫
- Rapport: We will be open for dine in dinner service tonight and tomorrow until 9p. Come try some of the great self pour wine and beer selections we have on tap. We will continue to serve takeaway from 7a-7p daily starting Wednesday. Stay tuned for updates on our take out dinner offerings.
- Blade and Timber: The Capitol Hill axe tossing venue has to shut down due to the new restrictions but is looking for an organization to put its Broadway throwing alleys to better use during the closure: With new restrictions in place, our Blade & Timber store in Cap Hill will be closed for the foreseeable future. That said, we are also aware that there are so many needs not being met for people in our district. Instead of letting our space sit vacant until we can reopen, we would love to find a way that we can serve as a distribution center / food bank / something useful in the in-between. We are conveniently located on Broadway in the heart of Cap Hill, just north of the Cap Hill station. If you are a part of, or are connected to an organization that might be a good fit for a 7000ft space in the middle of Cap Hill for pop-up relief, please be in touch.
- The Roanoke: We are sad to say that The Roanoke is temporary closed. Our business is not sustainable with just to go revenue & we lose less money by closing until we can operate with some amount of safe, indoor capacity. We want to give our amazing staff the biggest thank you for all of the hard work that they have done over the past 5 months and putting their health at risk to keep this old bar operating. We love you guys and could not do it without you. Also a big thank you to our regulars and customers who have been so generous & supported us. We cannot wait to hang out with you guys again. Stay safe and healthy and please please please wear a mask.
We will not be open during the shutdown it is to hard to make it work with restrictions. We will return when we are allowed to open again. We want to thank all our loyal guest for supporting us during this tough time. We will miss your friendship and look forward to seeing you again very soon. Thank You! Eladio, Alejandro, Agustin, Stephanie, Matthew, , Rodrigo, Jesus and Fidel
- Retail Therapy: we have cautiously stayed below 25% capacity from the beginning. you can always make an appointment for time that is more convenient for you. please continue to wear your masks, wash your hands frequently and look out for each other.
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This round of restrictions, so far, won’t be met by new federal assistance. Governor Jay Inslee on Sunday promised new $50 million in funding to help the state’s small businesses but that, of course, won’t be enough. The Seattle Office of Economic Development, meanwhile, is making a new $4 million round of Small Business Stabilization Grants available. Applications are due November 30th.
There are also smaller, more direct ways to help. The Broadway Business Improvement Area recommends buying gift cards as gifts and to “shop local for everything from records to shampoo.”
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UPDATE: To help small businesses get the word out about their lockdown plans and promotions, CHS is partnering with GSBA to ramp up the annual Shop the Hill effort and help people continue to shop locally through the ongoing restrictions and COVID-19 crisis. Let your favorite shops and small businesses know about the resource for sharing their messages and promotions. You’ll also see some new posters around the neighborhood. Even though many local places are currently locked down there are lots of pick-up and online opportunities. Check out capitolhillseattle.com/shopthehill/ for regular updates.
Other Capitol Hill businesses not active on social media like many of its smallest restaurants have already been rolling with the punches in the pick-up and takeout only world.
Some saw the writing on the wall earlier. Canon, its 12th Ave home not conducive to outdoor service, had announced its plans to go dormant before the new state restrictions were announced.
Meanwhile, others are planning for the — near — future. Sol Liquor, which has lifted up the mantle of providing the Hill with aged eggnog every December, has promised it will be back soon to again just in time for the holidays.
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