Washington Hospitality Assoc. fears 100,000 people could lose their jobs if further statewide restrictions take effect

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he’ll be announcing more restrictions in a few days to prevent the virus from spreading. It’s unclear what those measures will look like, and what businesses they might effect. 

An association representing thousands of hotel and restaurant workers is warning that 100,000 people could lose their jobs right before the holidays if Gov. Inslee puts more restrictions on them. 

The CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association showed data from three county health districts, which shows that less than 1% of COVID cases have originated from restaurants. Anthony Anton agrees we need to slow the spread. However, he’s confident that can be done without crippling these businesses. 

Washington state confirmed 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time ever on Friday. 

Governor Inslee says “We know how to slow the virus, it’s on all of us to get it done. And we need to do it now.” 

Next week, he’ll be announcing new measures to slow the spread. That announcement has the WHA worried. 

“We have the ability to stop this, and yet, if we don’t by making good choices there’s going to be 100,000 people out of work instantly before the holidays,” said Anton. 

He says, this time around, those workers won’t have extra unemployment benefits. 

Last month, WHA estimated that 35% or restaurants in the state would close by the end of the pandemic and 49% of hotels could go into foreclosure. That’s without any additional restrictions. 

“We can reduce the infection. We can save jobs,” said Anton. 

Health officials have said the main source of infections have come from households and social gatherings, not restaurants. 

“If we can work together and make good choices… masks, social distancing, what we do when we’re trying to be social… we can save 100,000 jobs,” said Anton.

READ: ‘It’s just too dangerous’: Gov. Inslee pleads with Washingtonians to avoid large gatherings this Thanksgiving 

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