How COVID-19 is affecting small businesses in Seattle
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With school closures and many people working from home, perhaps no local economy in the U.S. is weathering the effects of COVID-19 as much as Seattle. We checked in with a few small business owners in the area.
Miles Johnson, Fiori Floral Design
Miles Johnson opened Fiori Floral Design in 1995.
“Business has been good. I had not expected it to maintain at the level that it’s been. Some of our businesses, like weddings ans events that are coming up, fingers crossed that at the end of the month those will still continue.”Miles Johnson, March 9, 2020
Cat Wilcox, Velouria Boutique
Cat Wilcox and her colleague own Velouria, which sells women’s clothing, accessories and gifts made by independent creators in the U.S. and Canada. Their store is located in an office neighborhood, and weekday traffic has been significantly down.
“We have been working over the past couple of years to have a much better online presence. Our minimum for free shipping domestically was $150 and now we’ve changed it to $50. Lowering that is a service to people who don’t feel like they can leave their homes.”Cat Wilcox, March 9, 2020
Mike Donohue, Bob Johnson’s Pharmacy
Mike Donohue, the owner of Bob Johnson’s Pharmacy, started out as an intern at the pharmacy in 1978.
“Business has been really quite good and busy because of the coronavirus. We’ve sold things that we typically didn’t sell very well before, like masks and hand sanitizer. But I think the thing that’s really been influencing our volume is people getting emergency supplies of medication.”Mike Donohue, March 9, 2020
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?
Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.
How has the pandemic changed scientific research?
Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.
What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?
Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”
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