Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition September 6, 2021

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

4 min
signs of life

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 200 million people around the world and killed 4.5 million since it emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. At the same time, SARS-CoV-2 has been playing havoc with a different kind of complex organism: the city. In this special issue, Bloomberg Businessweek examines the seismic changes to urban life as cities sought to survive the virus. In March 2020, after outbreaks of Covid-19 in China, Italy, and Iran, cases mounted rapidly elsewhere. With 95 cases confirmed in New York City by March 12, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency but said he would “fight tooth and nail” to keep schools open. Three days later, confirmed cases in the city had jumped to 329, and New York City public schools—the largest…

2 min
a pandemic almanac

The pandemic changed the heartbeat of urban areas across the U.S.—few more so than the Pike/Pine corridor of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The vibrant-at-all-hours commercial district seemed headed for disaster as the economy shut down in March 2020. People holed up in their apartments, logging on to corporate office jobs at Inc. and other employers that had suddenly gone remote. Restaurants and bars went to takeout. Brick-and-mortar shops tried to make a go of it online. Music venues fell silent. Then, as protests erupted across the country in June 2020 after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the neighborhood suddenly came alive again as thousands showed up to demand racial justice. Demonstrators briefly established a cop-free zone called the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) across several blocks and in…

3 min
elderberry with a dose of community

When we first shut down, and the neighborhood started to be like the Night of the Living Dead, I actually emptied the store out. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. My partner also had to shut her business, and we left the city for her house on Whidbey Island. I took all my inventory up there and set up a little fulfillment center. I was coming into the city on Wednesdays and Thursdays to do deliveries and curbside pickup. Toward the end of April, beginning of May, I started to have a concept of what it could look like to reopen. I wanted to make sure my staff was safe, so that’s why you see two counters. One of them is in the back, and the other is…

3 min
overhauling a menu, a dining room, and a business

At the beginning of this, when I had to lay off about 30 folks, I also had about $25,000 to $35,000 outstanding in payroll that I had not cleared. I had this massive outstanding amount of money that was about to come crashing, because you send people home and you give them their last check, they’re going to cash that—as well they should. Fortunately, I had personal savings. But there was sheer panic for a minute there. PPP was definitely the bridge. That made it a little bit better. And then my landlady tied our rent to our income, so it was a percentage of income, so we weren’t tied to the normal high rent and not making any money. And all utilities were put on hold by the city, and…

3 min
rock ’n’ roll and masks don’t jibe

I just reread an article that I was interviewed for six weeks after Covid started. And it was like, “We’ve got another six weeks, maybe 12.” We’re now 476 days in. Nobody thought it would go this long. I was the one among my partners who was the most pessimistic, and I was like, “I bet we’re back Sept. 1.” A couple of months in, I was starting to come to peace with the idea that, you know, maybe I’m done. You know, 17 years, that’s a great run. Maybe this is my time to write the next chapter. Letting it go would not have been easy. This is what I’ve done my entire life—I started going to shows when I was 13. But it was definitely a strong consideration and…

2 min
getting by on glamping baskets and adrenaline

This was a breakeven business. So when the pandemic started, we just didn’t have any money. We applied for the PPP loan. We were one of the first people to get it, which was unfortunate and fortunate. We really just paid a bunch of people never to come to work. It was just a waste of the government’s money, in my opinion, because it didn’t help the business survive. After that, I had to just focus on what we could do, like takeout. In the summer we did “glamping baskets.” Picnicking is my favorite thing to do, so we bought insulated bags and we would give people a bottle of Champagne and a deck of cards and a CD of bands that had played here—who uses CDs anymore?—and then filled it…