Seattle businesses tightly secure outdoor seating tents ahead of windy weather

Businesses on Ballard Avenue in Seattle spent extra time securing their outdoor seating tents ahead of Tuesday’s gusty weather. Staff members at area restaurants and retail shops used extra sandbags, bricks and zip-ties to hold their canopies in place.

“We have the sandbags in place, we’ve got more sandbags in there if we need them,” said Emily Mabus, co-owner of Other Coast Café.

Some businesses on Ballard Avenue don’t have space inside to offer safe social distancing, so they have tents for outdoor seating hoping to attract more customers. Storeowners said they really need their tents to stay in place through the storm because outdoor seating is the only option for their customers to dine in this pandemic. Without a tent, some said they aren’t sure if they could survive on take-out orders alone.

“The staff, they have to put in extra effort every day to assemble the tent and keep an eye on it through the day. It is a lot of extra work, of course. It’s worth it because we want to stay open and we want to keep the customers safe and keep the staff safe of course,” said Mabus. “Keeping our staff employed is just so important to all of us that we’re willing to do backflips to do that.”

Staff at Other Coast Café just installed a brand new tent Monday.

“This is our second canopy. Our first one just could not handle the weather’s wear and tear. So, we just dropped a lot of money on this canopy,” said Mabus. “If it gets crazy, we’re just going to take it down and bring it inside because we’ve all seen our tents tumbling down the street over the last month.”

Patxi’s Pizza got rid of its tent after it blew into the restaurant’s windows and broke them during the last storm. Area business took note of that damage and re-strategized to secure their tents.

“We have bricks, sandbags, zip ties,” said Shelia Mulvihull, owner of Anchored Ship Coffee Bar.

Mulvihill said something simple like zip ties are going a long way for her tents at Anchored Ship Coffee Bar. The owner and her staff spent Tuesday lacing up their tents with extra zip ties and secured them to a fence.

“We had a windstorm a couple weeks ago and some of the tents here did fall and break windows. My landlord let me know, so we came and just zip-tied,” said Mulvihill.

Mabus said the community is doing what it can to stay afloat during the pandemic, even when there are weather events.

“The tenacity and the inventiveness of all of our fellow merchants on the street and throughout the city I’m sure has been really a big inspiration,” said Mabus.