LOS ANGELES — Most businesses reopened Thursday in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that jolted the Seattle area Wednesday, but Washington state officials reported that preliminary damage estimates could reach $2 billion.
The quake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, forced many closures throughout downtown Seattle and caused superficial structural damage and loss of inventory, sales and wages.
A Bon Marche store remains closed because engineers had not finished an assessment of any structural damages. The downtown Bon Marche store sustained structural damage to a skywalk connecting the store and a parking garage but opened as usual on Thursday after being closed on Wednesday for about half a day. Two Nordstrom stores in outlying Seattle areas, a downtown Seattle Nike Inc. store and Seattle Pacific Industries’ warehouse reopened on Thursday as well.
Most companies are still in the process of assessing sales lost because of closures and merchandise damage such as broken glassware and china.
Felt as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, and as far south as Portland, Ore., the quake hit at about 10:55 a.m. Pacific time with an epicenter located about 35 miles southwest of Seattle and near Olympia, Washington’s state capital. It caused three serious injuries from falling debris and at least 277 minor injuries, according to the state Emergency Management Division.