SEATTLE - A man loudly sang the blues in the heart of Pike Place with only a few around on Tuesday. All around the streets are bare, and for good reason.
As we isolate ourselves to stop an invisible but deadly virus, many small business owners are watching their livelihoods slip away.
“We are currently out of business,” Graham resident Holly Preble said.
Preble owns a food truck called Sirius Wood Fired Pizza.
“We use a certain high gluten Washington flour and I can’t get my product anymore,” Preble said.
Preble says so many people are buying up all types of flour she can’t get the ingredients she needs to continue her business.
Plus, she is worried about social contact.
Many small business owners and their workers, especially in the food industry, are in the same boat.
The state and federal governments are scrambling to provide a safety net and in the coming days more resources are expected to come out.
But for now, if you have already lost a job, go to the state’s Employment Security Department at www.esd.wa.gov. You may be eligible for partial wage reimbursement from the state.
“The emergency rules we passed last week increases flexibility to allow many more individuals to be eligible for employment insurance at this time,” Employment Security Commissioner Suzi Levine said.
Since Preble is self-employed she is not eligible for state reimbursement as of yet but benefits could be extended to workers at small businesses if the owners apply for the Shared Work program through Levine’s department.
“We encourage businesses to utilize Shared Work,” Levine said.
If a business have stopped work temporarily, Shared Work will allow workers to receive partial reimbursement if the employer applies for the program.
Also there are other job opportunities right now. Levine says while many industries have shut down others are flourishing and looking to hire.
Delivery services, janitorial jobs and manufacturing positions are some of the positions available. You can find those jobs here.
“Huge demand for new hires including our offices where we will be hiring 50 to 100 people to do customer service,” Levine said.
As for Preble, she is just hoping COVID- 19 isn’t going to shut her food truck down permanently.
“I am determined to have a positive outlook on all of this, that is who I am,” Preble said.
Preble says she is hoping the crisis is over at least by the summer when she’s booked for many weddings relying on her food truck to be there.
But Preble says she also understands the need for extreme measures right now.
“It’s not going to be better until we socially distance,” Preble said.