Small business owners fear for their livelihood as restrictions tighten in Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington will go back to a four-week freeze starting tomorrow. For some, it’s an inconvenience. For others, it could cost them their livelihood.

“Having to tell our employees that we are going to have to lay them off in the middle of November right before Christmas. I don’t have a lot of hope, December 14th, we’ll be magically opening again,” Laura Carey, Owner of Veraci Pizza.

Starting Wednesday, restaurants and bars will be closed for indoor service. Carryout and delivery will still be allowed. Other businesses like shops and gyms will have to make changes starting Tuesday.

RELATED: Restaurant industry pleads for comprehensive help plan amid new shutdowns

“I literally sat in my car and cried, but part of it, I think, is survival,” said Angela Malone, owner of Swank Boutique.

It’s that mentality that kept businesses running during the start of this pandemic.

“It sometimes had come down to, ‘Am I going to buy more inventory or am I going to pay the girls?’,” Malone said.

Malone says thanks to social media, they were able to make things work by selling mostly online. Things started to pick up even more once they were able to open their doors, but starting Tuesday, they’ll be back to only 25-percent capacity.

“I don’t know what that looks like, so I’m just taking my best guess and saying no more than two people at the store, said Malone.

It’s not just retail stores that are taking a hit with these restrictions. Starting Tuesday, fitness centers will have to shut their doors completely.

“In order for the business to survive, we can’t keep our staff at what it’s been and that’s stark reality,” said Jaunessa Walsh, Owner and CEO of Farmgirlfit.

Farmgirlfit enjoyed one last day of in-person classes before having to close. While the closure is supposed to be temporary, Walsh worries it might be for  good.

“I know that Farmgirlfit will continue to exist in some capacity. I know now it won’t exist as we know it, what we had built it to be, where it was in March. It won’t be in the near future and maybe not ever again,” said Walsh.

The YMCA in Spokane is also closing its doors. In the meantime, they’ll still offer virtual exercise classes.

RELATED: YMCA of the Inland Northwest closing fitness centers under new restrictions, childcare services still available

CycleBar South Hill sent an e-mail out Sunday night, saying in part, “We’re not changing anything. Our doors will remain open.”

CycleBar has since reversed coursed after our story aired, opting to cancel classes for the week to avoid having their business license revoked.

RELATED: South Hill spin studio backpedals, cancels classes in wake of statewide COVID restrictions