SEATTLE -- Work from home plans are changing the landscape of what downtown Seattle will look like and impacting the secondary businesses that rely on people leaving their homes.
The foot traffic in downtown Seattle on Friday can be summed up this way.
“It’s pretty sad, sad for our city,” Seattle resident Nan Sullins said.
Even as stay at home restrictions slowly start to ease, there is a sense of reluctance.
“Quite frankly I don’t think we will go out to restaurants right away even after the governor opens the restaurants,” Sullins said.
Many restaurants have been relying on takeout and delivery to survive but is that enough for spots in South Lake Union and other parts of downtown that rely so heavily on feeding the workforce of tech giants like Amazon.
One of the most well-known chefs in the culinary world Tom Douglas made it no secret early on that his restaurant group is in financial dire straits because of the pandemic.
“If they don’t reopen they don’t reopen that’s the way it is,” Douglas said.
Douglas also did not mince his words on Friday.
“When you open a business, you sign up for whatever is thrown at you, did I ever bet that a pandemic would come in and close all of my restaurants overnight no but I am still here right,” Douglas said.
He’s wasting no time finding ways to evolve to meet a trend that may be here for a while.
Amazon says they are following public health guidelines and allowing employees who can effectively work from home to do so until October 2nd if they want.
Companies like Zillow and Google are also extending the courtesy for the rest of 2020 as a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Twitter is reportedly telling employees they can work forever from home if they choose.
The Downtown Seattle Association is closely looking at a recent poll by Elucd showing that a third of Seattle residents plan to work from home for at least a year.
There is also CoStar’s data that says nearly half of all office workers prefer not to go into the office even when the crisis is over.
“We have zero foot traffic right now so to brace for less, anything is better than what we have it’s just a matter of matching up your labor, your rent your customers and making sure that equation works,” Douglas said.
Douglas remains hopeful because he has a strategy.
“If you try to open based on the things that were, you are going to go out of business, you have to open with the way things are and I think you will be in much better position,” Douglas said.
Douglas says it’s also important to follow the rules in order to keep employees and customers safe during the transition.