by Mark Van Streefkerk
Last year when the Columbia City Ale House announced it was closing its doors for good due to the pandemic, bartender Emily Eberhart knew she had to do something about it. Having worked at the tavern for seven years, Eberhart wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her coworkers and South End community of regulars. Although a global health crisis loomed, Eberhart approached Ale House owner Jeff Eagan and asked to take over the business. He said yes, ushering in a new chapter for the Columbia City watering hole.
Eberhart remembered last year’s turning point that galvanized her into action: “[Eagan] made a statement about closing forever and my immediate response was, ‘No we’re not.’ I had an amazing group of regulars and people [who] came to me, ‘What are we doing and how are we going to do this? Let’s make it happen.’ I knew the support was there.”
Continue reading Bartender-Turned-Owner Emily Eberhart Starts a New Chapter for Columbia City Ale House
by Alexa Peters
Though a comprehensive report detailing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Seattle economy has yet to be published, preliminary data shows that 2020 has been nothing short of horrific for the local travel and tourism industry.
According to a Visit Seattle Annual Report from February, the tourism industry generated $11.7 billion in total economic impact and 80,317 jobs in 2019. But this year, practically every event that usually brought tourists into the area was cancelled — and cancellations at the Washington State Convention Center alone account for a $379 million loss to the local economy.
Continue reading New Campaign From King County and Partners Encourages Residents to Return to Local Tourism
by Mark Van Streefkerk
For most of its members, returning to the YMCA means adapting to a new normal of gym life during a pandemic. Members can now sign up in advance to reserve 45-minute time slots for workouts, including swim sessions. Temperature checks, face masks, and adherence to other safety protocols are all required. Nearly all YMCAs in King County, including South King County’s Meredith Mathews, Matt Griffin, and Kent locations, reopened for member use on Aug. 19, in accordance with Governor Inslee’s fitness guidance for Phases 2 and 3. Adapting to a new normal of pandemic-adapted fitness, however, is just the tip of the iceberg for the nonprofit’s community outreach.
“Although we stopped serving members in our facility [in March], we never really closed our doors,” said Alonda Williams, senior vice president and chief experience officer for the YMCA of Greater Seattle. “Right away we focused on making sure that we were taking care of first responders by caring for their children. We did emergency child care right away [and] we continued our hunger programs … It was something that we were committed to from the very beginning.”
In mid-March, right as YMCAs across the county closed their gym facilities, the organization unified to meet crucial community needs. “We turned [our locations] into child care facilities,” Williams affirmed, noting that combined Y locations provided more than 17,000 hours of child care to first responders and over 300,000 meals to youth and families with the support of partners like Safeway and Microsoft. “Many of those kids would have been on free or reduced lunch, so without being in school [they] might not have otherwise had support,” she noted.
Continue reading YMCA Introduces Workouts by Appointment and After-School Enrichment Programs ‘In A Box’
by Carolyn Bick
Washington State has reached a new milestone in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As of today, there have been 50,000 people who have tested positive for the virus, since the start of the pandemic.
This is not a good number.
Continue reading As State Hits 50,000-Case Milestone, South King County Appears to Be Next Potential Outbreak Hotspot
by Carolyn Bick
A mask-clad Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a July 2 press conference that beginning on July 7, businesses will be legally required to enforce mask use among their patrons. He also said that all counties’ applications to move forward into a new Safe Start phase will be paused for two weeks starting immediately.
The announcements come as the number of novel coronavirus cases statewide continue to rise. In an earlier press conference, Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Public Health Officer Jeff Duchin revealed that cases in King County have more than doubled in the last two weeks, going from 40 per day to more than 100 per day, and that almost half these cases are in the City of Seattle alone. Most of the increase is among younger people. Duchin said that one-third of these recent increases are among young adults 20-29 years old, and more than half of all new cases are in people 29-39 years old.
Inslee called the surge across the state a “troubling spike,” and pointed to graphs that showed the number of cases in several counties are almost at or have surpassed the number of cases in April, when the virus was at its peak in the state. He also showed a graph that indicates the rate of transmission is once again increasing, and is at just above one in Western Washington and around 1.5 in Eastern Washington. This means in both parts of the state that one person is infecting more than one other person.
Continue reading Inslee Issues Mandate That All Businesses Require Mask Use Among Patrons, But Stops Short of Active Enforcement
by Carolyn Bick
King County will apply for a modified Phase One with eased disease benchmarks under Washington State’s new Safe Start guidelines, which Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a May 29 press conference. King County officials said in a later press conference that they will also increase access to testing in South King County in tandem with the move into the modified Phase One.
Continue reading King County Will Apply June 1 to Move Into Modified Phase One, Plans to Increase Testing in South End