Local leaders concerned small businesses may not recover from another round of shutdowns

If coronavirus cases continue to rise and Washington has to roll back reopening, there's concern that small retailers and restaurants may not recover this time around, South King County officials told the governor Friday afternoon. 

Governor Jay Inslee spent Friday afternoon in Federal Way to discuss Covid-19 response and recovery. State health officials are warning that numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. 

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee announced an extension in halting any further phased re-opening of the state until at least July 28th.

He also introduced several other restrictions, including prohibiting live entertainment.

In Federal Way, Inslee met with health, government, and business officials and discussed the impacts of COVID-19.

There is a concern if the cases continue to increase, the state may have to start moving backwards.

“The small retailers, the restaurants, the individual businesses that have been so hard hit as a result of the previous shut downs, they are just starting to get back on their feet and what we want to prevent are the wide scale failures of these businesses,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.

Some businesses haven't even had the chance to reopen yet.

“Venues like this are built to bring your community together, and when you can’t provide that you feel like you’ve failed,” said Brian Hoffman.

Hoffman is a general manager with Spectra Venue Management. He manages the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center.

March 3rd is the last time the center had a show. For four months, the seats have been empty, and Hoffman says it’s impacted the community in a lot of different ways.

“We provide experiences,” he said. “Where people can come in and forget about what’s going on in their daily lives,” Hoffman added.

The center also provides jobs to more than 40 people who live in this community.

“When they’ve done nothing wrong and you have to say we have to let you go it’s tough. It hits home,” said Hoffman.

Due to the pandemic, Hoffman says they’ve had to furlough dozens of employees and now only have a handful of staff.

He says with no end in sight of the pandemic, and no date on when they can resume business, it creates a lot of questions, and concerns for the future.