Relying on travel to survive, SeaTac suffers amidst virus outbreak

Mar 18, 2020, 5:14 AM
Adam Carver, 38, wears a mask to protect against coronavirus while on a nearly empty Delta flight. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The coronavirus outbreak is crippling the economy across the nation, but the mayor of SeaTac says the impacts have already been noticeable and significant.

SeaTac Mayor Erin Sitterley says a city reliant on travel and tourism is going to feel the pain for quite a while.

“Our rental businesses are reporting about 50% less in revenue since the beginning of March,” Sitterly told KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “Our hotels are dropping to about 20-30% occupancy, our rental car lots are filling with cars because of reduced demand, park and fly businesses are slower, and while I don’t have any actual statistics, just driving around there is a notable reduction in Uber, Lyft and taxi cars on our streets.”

Sitterly said the only thing that seems to be steady right now is logistics demand around groceries, food, household supplies, and some of the online retail.

“With our airlines reducing flight services, it’s a cascading effect,” Sitterly said.

She pointed out that many of the people who live in SeaTac work in airport related jobs or at the airport itself. Many of the employees are staying home now because of the virus outbreak or because there’s merely a lack of business.

There are seven schools in SeaTac, so many of the parents are at home.

“Our economy is based on tourism and travel and people aren’t coming here right now,” the mayor said. “It’s going to take us a little while to come back.”

Sitterly said SeaTac is one of many cities working with King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski on a request to state government for any assistance available. She said they’re also asking utilities and landlords for some grace, but she understands that smaller landlords rely on that rent to pay their mortgages.

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Relying on travel to survive, SeaTac suffers amidst virus outbreak