Authorities were sternly enforcing Spokane’s six-hour business days in an attempt to save heating fuel during a ferocious cold snap, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.
A number of businesses attempted to defy the restricted-hours edict, but federal authorities insisted that deliberate violators would be prosecuted.
A rush of Christmas shoppers swamped the city’s department stores during the 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. opening hours. One store owner said the morning hours were typically slow anyway, so it probably wasn’t hurting business too much. But he also doubted whether he was saving an appreciable amount of fuel.
Meanwhile, the city’s central downtown heating plant, which supplied steam heat to many downtown locations, notified its customers that it was “taking responsibility for the regulations being carried out.”
It would supply heat only during the authorized hours.
Coal rationing was in effect in the city, and it was obtainable only upon presentation of a signed affidavit asserting that the purchaser had less than a week’s supply on hand. This was intended to prevent hoarding and stockpiling.
The cold snap was beginning to ease – but only slightly. The low temperature the night before was 4 below zero, which was an improvement over the 15 below the city saw earlier in the week.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.