Retailers throughout Washington State now have completed their second week of operation under Phase 3 of the statewide Covid-19 recovery plan.
This means that:
- Occupancy limits for in-store retail have increased from 25% to 50%
- Common seating areas and indoor dining, such as food courts, are open subject to the same requirements as restaurants, taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
There have been additional developments this week that could help struggling retailers recover from the pandemic.
- Governor Jay Inslee has announced that anyone age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine as of April 15. This is a significant expansion as earlier eligibility requirements focused vaccinations on older residents.
- Amazon, with some 60,000 Seattle-area employees, announced that those who have been working remotely the past year are expected to return to their downtown offices by fall of this year.
Downtown workers are critical to the survival of businesses that serve them. The Downtown Seattle Association reports that Covid-related business closures have played a major role in the loss of 200 businesses that have permanently closed. Remote work has greatly reduced the number of people working downtown, damaging the retailers and restaurants that depend on their business.
As more vaccine becomes available, Washington Retail has urged state health officials to make all frontline retail workers across the state eligible for vaccinations.