Coronavirus Outbreak: Small Businesses Fight For Survival in Seattle

The coronavirus outbreak is hitting small businesses hard.

Mark Canlis and his brother run an award-winning restaurant in Seattle.

They quickly realized that people didn’t need fine dining during a virus outbreak.

“We just looked at one another and said: How can we create enough jobs to keep our staff safely employed through this time.”

Now it only offers drive-thru, takeout and delivery.

“It’s fun to be able to take ingredients that we’d normally be using tweezers on and maybe being a little bit precious, to just throw it together for the kind of food that makes you feel good” says Mark.

“If the time comes, if we’re not able to give them enough hours. We will recommend partial employment. That allows them to keep their healthcare. Canlis is actually paying the other half of their healthcare.”

All 100+ staff are still employed.

“The mission at Canlis has always been to inspire people to turn towards each other. If your values are truly your values, they’re gonna cost you something. And if that costs us profitability then so be it.”

Across town, Christopher Scamehorn picks up a mug from his collection.

“Ceramics are very tactile art, you want to be able to pick up the piece and feel it.”

He used to sell his art at Pike Place Market but now it’s shut.

“Many artists and crafts folk are struggling, not being able to sell their work. Pike Place Market was the venue for doing that.”

He’s moving his business online.

“I think that it will really come back to our own communities to help us get through this.”

Washington state’s governor has ordered non-essential businesses to close and for people to stay at home unless necessary.

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