The restaurants of the Seattle area are hurting. In fact, food industries throughout Washington State are suffering dramatically under the COVID economy. This round-up of local economic updates is excerpted from Zach Silk’s regional economic update, sent regularly each week and posted with permission. You can find more content by Zach and the rest of the team at Civic Ventures at their blog, Civic Skunkworks.
Doug Zellers, a co-owner of longtime Seattle restaurant mainstay Ray’s Boathouse, wrote an editorial for the Seattle Times titled “To preserve Seattle’s culinary scene, we need community’s help.” He notes that at “this time last year, the restaurant industry employed more than 340,000 people in the state. As of the latest numbers, 106,000 of those team members are no longer working.”
It’s not just Washington’s food-service industry that’s suffered. Our state is also home to a booming shellfish industry that was hit hard by the pandemic. Hannah Weinberger notes at Crosscut that “after seven months of widespread shellfish farm and hatchery layoffs and shutdowns, many growers report seeing business starting to come back, now that plants are back in action and growers can harvest. But just as many still worry about the future.”
At Publicola, former Stranger news editor Josh Feit writes about the many ways that the pandemic has changed Seattle’s idea of what a city can be: “This year has certainly forced Seattle’s neighborhoods to take on more flexible identities, accommodating exciting changes that may last beyond the pandemic. For example, the activated local business districts are no doubt related to the presence of more daytime workers.”