Wildfire smoke lingers, impacting local businesses and forces many to close

The smoke and haze from surrounding wildfires continue to leave an unhealthy haze across Western Washington, which is impacting businesses.

The pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors, then restrictions made it difficult to bring customers back.

Recently, cities have allowed businesses to apply for permits for outdoor seating and vending which extends into the street.

Owners say that option has been a huge help, but the smoky conditions are now threatening that.

“Frankly it’s becoming almost comical the number of obstacles that are put in front of us every day by whatever: the pandemic, mother nature,” said Tim Baker.

Baker is the owner of San Fermo in Seattle.

On Saturday, his staff prepped for their dinner crowd, however they had no idea what to expect.

“We’re just letting guests come in if they feel like coming out to eat and letting them choose where they want to eat, when they come in. We’re letting our staff decide if they feel comfortable coming into work,” said Baker.

Baker kept his outdoor seating options open, however, some restaurants decided to close them off to guests, and some owners decided to close their doors entirely for the day.

“We’re not open today; no. I mean, it looks ugly out there. Health and safety, they said, stay home with your doors and windows shut. We’re going to take that advice,” said Alan Macleod.

Macleod is the owner of Macleod’s Scottish Pub.

He has had his business open throughout the week but says the smoke was too much on Saturday to comfortably open his doors.

He says he’ll make decisions day-to-day on whether to open or not.

Health officials suggest the best way to protect yourself in this smoky air is to stay inside as much as possible and if you can keep doors and windows closed.