In this episode, host Alex Woodall is joined by Simran Tandon to shed light on local businesses in Sammamish and how the Covid-19 virus has impacted them.
With their first guest, Alex Woodall partners with Lin Yang in talking to the Executive Director of the Sammamish Chain of Commerce Deborah Sogge, to get a perspective on the impact of Covid in Sammamish.
Deborah admits that people are struggling to stay home, as well as local businesses have had to adjust to continue operating.
She sat down (distantly) with restaurant owners to plan creative ways to keep local businesses going, these methods including takeout, curbside pickup, and more.
Some restaurants, however, are struggling more than others, particularly those primarily serving alcohol who will have to wait until dine-in is available to serve their products.
Given the circumstances, a lot of businesses have transformed their offices to be operated from inside the home. These include painters, home designers, and other artists who have now found they can run their business through a video call.
Unfortunately, a lot of our local businesses have had to let go of some of their employees, but some have managed to give work to be done at home or outside of their facilities, which helps. For example, some of our restaurants have been able to convert their employees into delivery drivers.
With the rising pay protection programs and national fundings spreading across the county, some of the funds have run out after the first cycle. Locally, the city of Sammamish has not provided any money, and is relying on federal and state money.
The 4th of July Fireworks, and some of the other bigger events in Sammamish have been cancelled in order to air on the side of precaution this summer with the virus. The farmers market, however, follows a new plan named “Covid Protection” which means the farmers market will follow new social distancing and safety protocols. The Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new location to hold the market, and is inspecting for a safe place.
As residents, there are many ways we can continue to support our local economy. Deborah continues with suggesting support to restaurants by using the takeout food and delivery options, as well as helping the tips jar when able! These values go far for our employees. As well, support any online deals, available on the Sammamish Chamber Facebook, in lookin for your needed businesses online that have all been prepped to be safe. Supporting the nonprofits is crucial as well, as their fundraising’s have been unable to be held.
The next featured guest is, Kevin Gatke, owner of the Sammamish Alehouse. This business has adjusted to the new to-go format, but has already been well prepared as he has incorporated this order option even before the closure. The Alehouse is still able to serve their cocktails and alcoholic drinks to-go using new, creative methods and containers. They’ve had to cut a lot of servers, but are getting a PPE loan following the first round as a small business. Sammamish residents, he says, have been really supportive of keeping its core businesses open.
The next featured guest, Jean Johnson, a local photographer, speaks in on how the virus has impacted her small business. A “family historian”, photographer and portrait artist, Jean says her businesses was booming before the virus hit. Despite the closure, her business is still able to operate under new social distancing guidelines, as her favorite shots are long lenses, making it easy to take safe and distant photos. She continues by saying she is ready to continue photographing families whenever they are ready, as family portraits are so important for personal histories.