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Wildfire smoke is the latest obstacle for Spokane businesses

Some of the worst air quality Spokane has ever seen has forced many people to shelter indoors over the last five days.

SPOKANE, Wash — There have been nonstop obstacles that local businesses have had to deal with this year.

Wildfire smoke is just the latest on that list, but much like new COVID-19 protocols, all they can do is try to adjust.

Some of the worst air quality Spokane has ever seen has forced many people to shelter indoors over the last five days.

According to Downtown Spokane Marketing & Program Director Elizabeth Hooker, businesses have even closed their doors earlier than normal because of the hazardous air quality. 

“Last weekend we started to see posts pop up that some of our retailers and restaurants were choosing to shut down because we’re just not seeing people come in like we have in the past,” said Elisabeth Hooker.

Normally, there’s a day or two of smoke and that’s to be expected. However, there isn’t usually a pandemic paired with an extended period of smoke.

RELATED: Virtual Bloomsday extends race dates due to poor air quality

“I’ve been very proud of what we’ve seen our local business owners exhibit this year, which is determination,” Hooker explained. “We’re not going to let this get us down.”

All of the closures this year have drastically slowed down foot traffic, and support from the community is needed right now.

Even though some shops are closed up because of the air, there are ways to show them they aren’t going through this alone.

That can even be in the form of purchasing a gift card

“They’ve been there for us for many many years and it's our chance to step up and be there for them in however we can," Hooker said.

Air quality is expected to increase closer to the weekend. Until then, several places are closed and just hoping to bounce back once the skies clear.