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Downtown Feels “Olympic Squeeze”

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News Specialist Stacey Butler shows us life inside downtown's fenced-in zone, weeks before the games begin.

"You're driving down the street one day, the next day it's closed."

And for those who work in the Olympic perimeter, it's only going to get worse.

"We're getting down to crunch time and you're trying to make plans to run a business and you just can't do it," said Fred Metos, who works downtown.

"The employees will have their employee i.d. badge that they will need to show at the entrance of the queing area," said Wyndham Hotel General Manager Debra Brandsrud.

That's before they pass through two more checkpoints, where bomb sniffing dogs will check each car.

From lawyers and business owners...

"it's about a five percent hit for all of us self-employed people who are in the downtown area, that we're going to lose as a result of the Olympics," said downtown worker Steve Kuhnhausen.

...to restaurant and hotel employees...

"It's going to be a little bit of a challenge."

Those who work in the fenced in security perimeter downtown are feeling a collective sense of well, dread.

"I'm trying to plan now. But my guess is that no amount of planning's going to be able to prepare me," said downtown worker Mark Moffat.

And confusion.

"We've heard nothing but rumors," said Metos.

Answers are hard to come by.

Like where will restaurant employees in the perimeter park?

"I don't know that."

Or when will TRAX run?

"We have not heard what time TRAX will stop running," said Brandsrud.

We learned the last train and bus depart downtown at 1:00 a.m., leaving late shift employees in the cold.

Though right outside the perimeter, restaurants at the Gateway are already hit hard by the barricades.

And the Dee's restaurant next to the medals plaza is struggling to stay afloat.

Nearby barricades, construction trailers and chain link fences are hardly a welcoming site.

Just ask the servers.

"It's been at least a hundred percent decrease in the last few weeks from what i was making before," said Dee's waiter Chris Johns.

And for the elderly living downtown...

"It's very, very fuzzy."

Many attended a meeting on how to get around.

The consensus?

"Well, I just know, stay home during that time," said Connie Sedlar who lives near the University of Utah.