IA Engagement: Investigating the Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Different Sizes of Businesses in the Bellevue Area

Ruby Li, Guest Writer

Bellevue possesses a large and dynamic economy. Before COVID-19 pandemic hit, Bellevue, the second largest city in Washington state, offered over 150,000 job positions and has had an annual growth rate of 1.12 percent since 2000. Bellevue’s economic system is based on industries like information technology and business services to a great extent, which reflects that its workforce is largely composed of workers with higher education, even higher than Seattle, the largest city in Washington State. In general, the development of Bellevue before the pandemic was thriving.

During the COVID pandemic, in March 2020, businesses of all sizes were suppressed by a policy from the government, the “stay home, stay healthy” order. This order was mainly composed of three parts. This proclamation “[required] every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need[ed] to pursue an essential activity”, “ban[ned] all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes” and “close[d] all businesses except essential businesses”. It is because of this policy that many businesses other than grocery stores, clinics, or essential businesses such as banks faced store closure. This is the biggest factor of how COVID affected Bellevue’s economic system. Store closures meant a shortage of work positions. Many people’s wages were suddenly cut off and they lost their financial resources, and they had to live on government benefits. The problem here is that, regardless of the size of the business, there were bound to be layoffs due to declining capital. Therefore, no matter what, a large scale of unemployment was inevitable.

Firstly, what is defined as a bigger business or smaller business? A large business is any business having more than 250 employees or more than $10 million in gross receipts averaged over the previous three years, and a small business is those who don’t fulfill these conditions. Combining the above, there are many local businesses in Bellevue that could be considered large businesses, at the same time, there are also countless small businesses.

The Outbreak led by COVID is hindering the development from the whole world to the local area, because it largely affects people and society’s ability to live sustainably in an organized community. I consider development can also be understood as the average income, access to education, healthcare and services in a society. The pandemic went the opposite way from promoting development in Bellevue. It promotes inequality among bigger and smaller sizes of businesses and suppresses the sustainability of the profitability in smaller businesses.

From the perspective of globalization, COVID also speaks on the importance of globalization in the economy. In a sense of economy, globalization also means visibility or popularity. Larger businesses such as Starbucks, although not essential, was affected by a smaller impact compared to other businesses that are not globalized. Consumers pay for it even when it’s not a necessity. Starbucks’ globalization promotes consumer’s sustainability because of its popularity and consumer’s loyal choice. Conversely, smaller businesses without globalization lose these. Therefore, globalized businesses were less affected by the COVID outbreak.



This article serves as an engagement for the author’s Global Politics Internal Assessment. It has been edited for length and clarity and to uphold Inkwell’s standards for published content.