RUN ON TOILET PAPER RETURNS – Tuesday morning rolls of paper towels filled the toilet paper shelves at La Conner’s Pioneer Market. Customers will be limited to one roll each of toilet paper once new inventory arrives. Just as businesses were ramping up for the holidays Gov. Jay Inslee, recognizing that your neighbors, the state’s residents, had succeeded in doubling the number of COVID-19 cases in the state in one week, put a brake on most things economic. Stay inside till Dec. 14, except for getting local takeout.       – Photo by Ken Stern
RUN ON TOILET PAPER RETURNS – Tuesday morning rolls of paper towels filled the toilet paper shelves at La Conner’s Pioneer Market. Customers will be limited to one roll each of toilet paper once new inventory arrives. Just as businesses were ramping up for the holidays Gov. Jay Inslee, recognizing that your neighbors, the state’s residents, had succeeded in doubling the number of COVID-19 cases in the state in one week, put a brake on most things economic. Stay inside till Dec. 14, except for getting local takeout. – Photo by Ken Stern

Sunday and Monday night, diners were taking their last meals at La Conner restaurants, from La Conner Pub & Eatery down to Nell Thorn on First Street and over to Santo Coyote on Morris Street and COA on Maple Avenue. Residents once again made a run on toilet paper at Pioneer Market, though bottled water was in good supply Tuesday.

Business owners who heard the news were not surprised by Gov. Jay Inslee’s Sunday proclamation to restrict Washington residents ability to be in close proximity. The guidelines are similar to last spring’s.

No indoor service at restaurants and bars. Retail stores and personal services (barbers, hair salons) are limited to 25% of occupancy; professional services (lawyers, realtors, financial advisors) must close their offices to the public; museums, movie theaters, gyms and fitness facilities are closed.
Fine Feathered Friends’ Rosi Jansen and Rich Murphy, owner of Pac Nor Westy, are emphasizing curbside pickup for their stores. Monitoring in-store customers, “maybe even keeping the door open,” and reducing hours, are possible changes Jansen wrote in an email. She counsels shopping ahead of Dec. 14 and wonders if conditions will change afterwards.

Murphy is concerned that with the 25% capacity, people are going to be less likely to wait to enter the store to shop. He promotes online shopping, including gifts ideas that people can have shipped directly to others.

He notes that “stores have holiday goods that have a finite shelf life. They run the risk of losses if they are not able to sell these goods before the holidays. Think about gifts for others and gifts for yourself that will make your stay at home more enjoyable.” 

Janna Gage co-owner of Seaport Books in Gilkey Square, called the postponement of the Dec. 4 First on First event and the boat parade “the biggest impact” of the restrictions.

Ted Furst, majority owner of Nell Thorn, is concerned about his hourly staff, who are again furloughed, this time without federal unemployment support. He wrote “it breaks my heart that they’re going to have to suffer through another month of little or no wages.”

Besides offering takeout, as they did in the spring, Nell Thorn will have full table service under cover, moving tables and heaters from the patio to the front of the restaurant. It is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday.

Furst did not want to make predictions about the next month or the rest of the year, then “predict(ed) a very busy ten days before Christmas, and a busy week between Christmas and New Year’s. If ever there was a year that needed a proper good riddance, 2020 is it!”

The merchants surveyed generally agreed with Inslee’s decision and criticized the failure of President Trump to lead or act.