Popular restaurant says it's unfairly impacted by Seattle's new hotel regulations

SEATTLE - A well-known restaurant, 13 Coins, says a new set of Seattle policies aimed to protect hotel workers is unfairly targeting small businesses that are not in the hotel industry.

“We’ve been a restaurant in Seattle for 53 years and somehow we are impacted by an initiative that has very little do with us,” Mike Hursh with 13 Coins said.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved four measures giving hotel workers more rights and protections.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda strongly supported the measures and spoke before the final vote.

“No worker is put in the position where they are again intimidated, harassed or assaulted in their workplace,” Mosqueda said.

Hursh says he supports the city’s move to give hotel workers a safer working environment, which also includes safe workloads.

But he says the city’s decision is lumping in non-hotel companies under "ancillary businesses." The new policies require hotels and ancillary businesses to pay a certain amount in health care.

The language in the policy defines an ancillary business as follows:

  • “Ancillary hotel business” means any business that (1) routinely contracts with the hotel for services in conjunction with the hotel’s purpose; (2) leases or sublets space at the site of the hotel for services in conjunction with the hotel’s purpose; or (3) provides food and beverages, to hotel guests and to the public, with an entrance within the hotel premises;

  • “Hotel’s purpose” means services in conjunction with the hotel’s provision of short term lodging including food or beverage services, recreational services, conference rooms, convention services, laundry services, and parking.”

The Seattle Hotel Association says the definition is far-reaching and vague.

They are also questioning why non-hotel businesses like cafes, bars and restaurants are affected to begin with.

Hursh says they are not affiliated with any hotel. But he says the restaurant is affected because their door opens up to a hotel.

“We are impacted by the fact that we have a door, meanwhile the restaurant across the street isn’t impacted by it in any way,” Hursh said.

Last week, a man who owns a parking garage told council members that running a small business is hard and that the city's policy showed a lack of understanding of what it takes to run a business.

"It’s not just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable to leave the definition vague,” said the owner of the parking garage.

Hursh says they already pay about 75 percent of their workers' health care. The new rules will require them to increase what they are putting in.

“It’s a $200,000 effect to the bottom line immediately,” Hursh said.

He says that kind of a hit is big enough to threaten the viability of the Pioneer Square location.

He says the increase in cost will impact hiring decisions and future plans of business in Seattle.

“We’ve asked the city to remove the ancillary hotel business completely,” Hursh said.

Hursh says his company has also asked council members for clarification on the rules.

“We’ve received none,” Hursh said.

Q13 News reached out to council members on Monday, including Mosqueda. She declined an interview.