Seattle (CNN)It’s Friday morning at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, and Mike Kirn and the other fish mongers are setting up for business.
They’ve had their warmup stretches and they’ve talked about how the novel coronavirus is affecting the Puget Sound area and being a bright spot for their customers.
“We’re always going to be here for the people, creating a nice space for people to come and have some good vibes while negative stuff going out there,” he says about the market, known for the entertaining way the staff tosses fish around.
In other stalls, workers are putting out fresh crabs, flowers and other goods.
Charlotte Clifton, a Seattle resident, is walking by the market on her way to work. This week, she’s noticed a change in the crowds, not in the morning, but in the afternoons.
In the past, it’s been much busier in the evenings, she says.
“It’s definitely dropped off since the coronavirus scare,” she said.
Standing near the front of the market, she says it feels like 20 years ago when fewer people live in Seattle. She thinks it’s that fewer tourists are coming to Seattle, which is in King County, the epicenter of the US outbreak with 58 cases and more than 10 deaths.
“There’s way fewer tourists for sure,” she says. Pointing to the entrance she says there are usually plenty of people taking photos there, even at this hour. Today it appears there are just people making deliveries and going to work.
There’s a new reality beginning to form in the city of almost 800,000 people, affecting nearly every aspect of life from business to traffic and even education.
Fewer people are going to work — or to school. Big companies have told employees to telework and the University of Washington and a Seattle area school district have told their 80,000 students combined to take their classes online for up to several weeks.
“I want people to know that when we have a fact pattern that affects the safety and health of our students that we’re going to stop and recognize that it’s not business as usual and we’re going to make space to make a thoughtful and measured decision,” said Michelle Reid, the superintendent of the Northshore School District.
Students and faculty will return to campus when the data indicates it is appropriate, she told CNN.
The University of Washington says that it was going to close its physical classrooms on three campuses before a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The two factors aren’t correlated as the decision to close classrooms came “much earlier in the day,” according to University of Washington spokesman Victor Balta
The school says it is not closing