The Seattle-based Duke’s Seafood restaurant chain has now been shuttered for over a month.
On March 18 the restaurant temporarily closed all seven of its locations in the region due to the impacts of the coronavirus, Duke Moscrip, founder and CEO of Duke’s Seafood, told IntraFish.
"This is the worst situation we have ever seen," he said, noting the company could not operate on offering takeout alone. "It's not practical for us."
Moscrip has since laid off all 425 employees working for his company.
He said he applied for the US Small Business Administration's (SBA) Payroll Protection Program program (PPP), but hasn't so far received any emergency aid from it.
The company, which has continuously operated at least one restaurant in the Seattle area for the past 48 years, will reopen and rehire workers as soon as it is allowed to, he said.
Washington state was one of the earliest in the United States to impose stay-at-home orders in March. The state's governor, Jay Inslee, is also likely to extend some stay-home orders through May, according to the Seattle Times, and its unclear where foodservice stands in the state's reopening timeline.
Despite the financial setbacks and unprecedented uncertainty, Moscrip still plans on reopening his restaurant in time for at least some of the summer salmon season, he said.
He looks forward every year to the Copper River salmon season for a fish most buyers overlook -- coho. The company secures frozen supplies to serve at its locations year-round. Moscrip said if restaurants open for dine-in by late July or August, when coho fishing ramps up in Alaska, he will be buying fish.
"We’re probably going to do 70 percent of sales we did last year for the first few months," he said of how this summer could compare to last year if he does reopen in time.
Moscrip is relieved he at least won't have to worry about securing fresh fish, with social distancing measures challenging air cargo logistics.
"Ours comes in frozen container that is shipped by boat to our storage facility," he said. "Then we are able to draw from it every week, even every day. It's a slick way to do it."