Companies announce job openings, elected leaders promise help after coronavirus impacts economy

SEATTLE – The coronavirus crisis hit western Washington’s economy in a big way.

Multiple businesses announced layoffs across Puget Sound and some businesses simply closed their doors.

There are now efforts on both the federal and local levels designed to help families stay afloat.

Grocery store chains announced they are ready to hire hundreds of people.

Safeway, Albertsons and QFC say they have spots to fill and some people could be back to work as early as next week.

QFC says their stores been busy the past few days. So busy, the company announced it needs workers.

“Normally we’ll see an uptick in business like this maybe with a snow event,” said spokesperson Tiffany Sangers.  “People are stocking up every day and the shelves are empty.”

The company said it met with 50 people who were told they would lose their jobs at Daniel’s Broiler.

“We’ve got hundreds of jobs to fill at all of our QFC stores,” she said. “We’re really focusing on e-commerce.”

Safeway and Albertsons also announced they have thousands of job openings they need to fill immediately across Puget Sound.

The job offers come after multiple Seattle restaurants abruptly closed their doors forcing workers off the payroll.

Seattle’s ‘The Stranger’ announced Friday it would temporarily layoff 18 and suspended its print issue.

But even those still working say the economy is rough. Some Uber and Lyft drivers said they were working long hours and barely scraping by.

“It came from the middle of nowhere,” said Ubah Dahran. “We were not expecting any of it.”

“I need money in my pocket right now to feed my family and stay safe as well,” said Ahmed Mahamud.

Our state’s Employment Security Department says it enacted emergency rules meant to help people recently laid off and help small businesses impacted by the virus.

Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency. He said the ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act’ would make testing for the virus-free, adding the act would guarantee 14 paid sick days for employees.

Locally, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the impact to our region by the coronavirus is unprecedented and signaled she will pursue a temporary eviction moratorium.

At the same time, some companies say they can help by putting those without a steady paycheck back to work.

“Just show up, be prepared for an interview and be prepared to get to work right away,” said Sanders.

QFC says its job fair will be this Monday in Belleuve.

Safeway and Albertsons says applications are being accepted online.