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How the latest lockdown is impacting people already struggling to get by

Murals and paintings from local artists cover the side of businesses and restaurants in Seattle closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Meili Cady/KIRO Radio)

The pandemic and the lockdown have severely impacted people’s incomes and mental well-being, all of which have come to the surface again in the wake of Governor Inslee’s announcement of additional restrictions. To get a sense of how people are doing, Gee and Ursula took calls from listeners.

Greg in West Seattle is a waiter and an artist and has been hit in all sorts of ways.

“I am a waiter at Salty’s and I miss it desperately because when it happened, we were laid off, we were down for two months, and then we came back at 25% capacity and I was one of the new guys, so I haven’t gone back … I’m also an artist, and I’m also an actor. And the weekend we closed at Salty’s, I was supposed to be doing a show up at Edmonds Driftwood Players — that got cancelled. Then the summer and the fall I had two art shows scheduled — those got canceled. So it’s really hard to take,” he said.

How has COVID-19 impacted your life? Gee & Ursula listeners tell their stories

He’s only survived this far by cutting back and with a bit of help from the Employment Security Department, and is disappointed with how the restrictions have been handled locally.

“I have so many friends in the service industry who operate bars and pubs like the Admiral Pub in West Seattle who had just bought the business when all of this was started. And from week to week, they’ve never known what their status was going to be. And now, just as stuff started coming back, they have to cut it down and they’re going to shut on Wednesday. And my friends at Circa on California Avenue, just threw in the towel, gave up. It’s hard to drive down California Avenue and look at all the closed businesses.”

How do we bring the country together? Gee & Ursula listeners sound off

Scott in Bonney Lake owns two indoor bouncy house businesses and doesn’t believe he will survive the next lockdown.

“I own two indoor inflatable bounce house party places. We do parties for kids. They come in, they bounce, they have a great time. We’ve been closed down since March 15, both locations. I know many other locations out there in the Northwest here. I know of at least three of the locations that have permanently shut the doors, that will not be open again. I’m in my Auburn location right now. I’m walking around inside here. I’ve got 18,000 square feet, have inflatables laying on the ground, waiting for kids to come back and have a good time,” he said.

Ursula asked what his immediate reaction was to Inslee’s announcement of new restrictions.

“My immediate reaction? You probably don’t want to know that, but my second reaction was, ‘Wow, this might be the nail right here in the coffin.’ We’ve been struggling with government loans, trying to get through this like everybody else has.”

To listen to the rest of the callers’ stories, head here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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