VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s expanded orders for non-essential businesses to close are now in effect.

But as FOX 12 is finding, some businesses that are not required to close are having such a hard time staying open, they’re closing anyway.

One of them is Simply Sweets, a popular neighborhood bakery in Vancouver.

Owner Jen Allpress says she started doing curbside orders a week ago from a walk-up window on the sidewalk, but even that has gotten tough.

Some of her employees with younger kids or older parents are choosing to stay home, and finding cleaning supplies and groceries is getting tougher.

“They had no milk, they had no flour, they had no oats, nothing," Allpress said of a recent trip to the store. "None of the staples."

Because she’s already doing the take-out model, the governor’s expanded order for non-essential businesses to close doesn’t apply to her.

But the challenges of staying open – even in this limited way – are mounting, and Allpress said she had to make the decision on her own to close for a while.

“We have to have a product, we have to have the staff to sell it, and we have to have the ability to clean, and going to the store and getting bleach or Lysol or anything you need, you can’t get it,” she said. “And since we can’t safely do that, it’s time to close up and give everyone a chance to reset.”

Thursday was the last day the walk-up window was open.

Customers who heard the news on social media spaced out on the sidewalk outside the shop to get in one last order.

“This is one of our favorite places to stop by when we’re walking the dogs and today’s the last opportunity to support one of the local businesses for at least a couple weeks, so wanted to make sure we stopped on by,” Chuck Springer, a customer, said.

According to Governor Inslee, there are four million registered businesses in Washington. But most of them are now closed.

Inslee said Thursday that new unemployment claims in the state are up by 843% in just the last week.

Two weeks ago, he said there were 6,000 new claims filed. This week that rose to 133,000.

The state employment department is bringing on hundreds of people to help meet the need, and guidelines for who is eligible for unemployment benefits and how much they can get are being relaxed.

But that will take time.

“I wish we could tell people checks could go out at noon today for that, but I think people realize it will be some period of time before we can get this up and running,” Inslee said.

Back at Simply Sweets, the owner says she’ll focus on online and event orders until she can safely re-open her bakery to the public.

Her customers say they’ll wait.

“As soon as they open back up, we’ll be here,” Springer said.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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