SW Washington businesses forced to close over COVID-19

VANCOUVER, Wash — Non-essential businesses are shutting down in southwest Washington, following Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.  

The order for businesses to close up shop is set to take effect at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 27. However, many businesses are closing up early; some closed down more than a week ago.

There is a long list of businesses considered essential, from grocery and hardware stores to auto parts and auto repair —  pet supplies, too.  The owners of Woodin’ You Pampered Paws have their family business open, but they have restricted how they do business.  They will continue to deliver projects, but the inside of their store is closed.  They are providing curbside service at the location and say it is going well.

“We have a lot of customers that are in more of a delicate situation so I wanted to be proactive and make sure they were not getting harmed potentially when they came in the store and visa-versa, because we have a small staff so we need to make sure we are healthy so we can keep serving our customers,” said owner Amy Krcek.

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But their next-door neighbor in Salmon Creek, When the Shoe Fits, is closed. Owner Alan O’Hara closed his four locations at the end of the day Monday after Inslee announced the order. 

Interviewing from a distance, When the Shoe Fits owner Alan O'Hara.

Interviewing from a distance, When the Shoe Fits owner Alan O'Hara.

Dave Angier, KGW

“On one hand, we want to be able to help provide our employees with work and keep paying their salaries, on the other hand, I don’t want to keep sending them out to the front lines if there’s a potential they could get ill,” said O’Hara.  “So I’m almost relieved that everybody gets to go be safe, and we’ll figure this out.”

O’Hara did have to lay off 25 employees, but hopes unemployment insurance kicks in quickly, along with other federal help for individuals and businesses, to keep everyone afloat.  In the meantime, he hopes online sales will take up some of the slack.

Washington state’s temporary ban on businesses includes many exemptions, the full list can be found here.