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'Hanging on by a thread': Washington industry group says hospitality sales down by nearly half

“When you talk about 35% of restaurants going out of business, each one of those is a story,” said Anthony Anton, CEO of Washington Hospitality Association.

SEATTLE — The owners of Twelve Baskets Catering, based in Kirkland, have been in business for 45 years.

“This is what we have built. What we’ve spent our whole lives building up,” said John Bagge, owner of Twelve Baskets Catering. “Now we're facing some pretty tough times.”

A PPP loan has helped Bagge and his wife keep their business afloat. Their focus has been on safety protocols while working within Washington's phased reopening restrictions.

“We cannot survive catering for 10, 20, 30 people. The revenue just isn't there. We've lost 80% plus of our normal revenue for the year,” Bagge said.

In order to survive, Bagge said he needs U.S. Congress to act.

“They need to get this stimulus, the PPP package figured out,” he said.

Bagge put his concerns for the hospitality industry in a letter, highlighting that he knows businesses on the "verge of financial ruin.”

During a briefing on Friday, Washington Hospitality Association released their latest estimates that show hospitality sales are down 45%.

“When you talk about 35% of restaurants going out of business, each one of those is a story,” said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. 

A statewide stay-at-home order was issued in March because of coronavirus. When businesses shut their doors, the hospitality industry lost 191,000 jobs, according to the association. Anton said as Washington has slowly reopened, 100,000 of those jobs came back.

"If we have to shut down again, that means we're going to lose those 100,000 jobs,” Anton said.

The industry is urging the public to take coronavirus seriously and follow health protocols so businesses don't have to move backwards.

“It's pretty sad if this doesn't get turned around soon,” Bagge said.

Gov. Jay Inslee said it is possible additional coronavirus restrictions need to be implemented because of the rise of COVID in Washington. An announcement about that could happen next week. 

But Anton said if the public works together to stop the spread of the virus it will save jobs.