SPOKANE, Wash. — Last week, business in Spokane’s Garland District was slow. Streets were emptier than normal. Many stores chose to close down voluntarily.
Others decided to keep pushing through.
"It's been surprisingly okay,” said David Thoren, owner of the Groove Merchants record store.
But on Monday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced staying open was no longer a choice for most shops. He issued a stay-at-home order that also required all non-essential business close to the public.
"I understand the importance for shutting down and for everybody staying in their home, but I just know how devastating it is for our businesses,” said Julie Shepherd-Hall, president of the Garland Business District.
Shepherd-Hall says the two-week order comes at a tough time. Many stores, like the ZipperZ dress shop she manages, rely on foot traffic that typically picks up in the spring.
"There wasn't even foot traffic on the sidewalks for people to come in so we just felt that we needed to close,” she said.
Her business and several others actually were already shutting down prior to the order, realizing that any hope of revenue exceeding operating expenses was dwindling.
"And we just felt that we need to be home as well and not encouraging people to come into the shop,” said Shepherd-Hall.
Others like Groove Merchants had been holding out hope, but following Inslee's order began closing up shop.
"Every business is a little unique,” said Shepherd-Hall. “Some have appointments with people so they have commitments to be open. Some are just trying to stay open to get whatever dollars they can."
That's true in other parts of town as well. Stores like Merlyn’s Comics announced on Facebook they'll stay open through Wednesday afternoon, getting in that last bit of business.