Businesses feeling the impact of COVID-19, facing tough choices
Throughout the state and country, people are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the coronavirus.
Area businesses are facing questions of how to cope with this ever-changing new normal.
To reduce community spread of coronavirus, Governor Henry McMaster ordered all restaurants, bars, and cafeterias statewide to stop all dine-in activity beginning Wednesday.
Restaurants will be able to provide delivery and take-out options.
Mark Daniels, owner of Carl’s Food Center, said Hurricane Hugo or any snow scare that happened in the past has not been as bad as this week.
“I think it is the fear of the unknown,” he said. “They are not certain what is going to happen. They are trying to stock up and get prepared the best they can but they don’t know what to expect.”
At Carl’s Food Center and most other stores in the county, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and toilet tissue are gone.
Daniels noted his supplier was out so they can’t get any more until the supplier has more.
He has 80 employees so Daniels is concerned about them and his customers.
In the store, cashiers are wearing latex gloves when checking customers out. An industrial sanitizer is being used to sanitize all of the equipment in the various departments and to wipe down carts.
“We are trying to be as cautious as we can,” he said.
Janelle Bakogiannis, president of the Marlboro Chamber of Commerce, said they encourage all businesses and industries to increase cleaning frequency, maintain social distancing, ask employees to stay home if sick, and to follow the mandates and recommendations by officials.
“We do believe that continuing to shop local is important in this time but shoppers should avoid crowds, minimize the time they spend in stores, and utilize take out/curb pick up where possible,” she said.
Chamber officials are encouraging people to buy gift cards from their favorite restaurants and shops now, which will help small shops and give them something fun to do when things return to normal.
Bakogiannis said she knew this is a frustrating time for many, and the loss of revenue will hurt the community as a whole.
“We hope the best of our county shows itself, and when this is over, we can say that we all did our best and played our part in slowing the spread of the virus,” she said.
Cindy Ayers, the owner of Gifts and More, said business has been slow but they are pretty stable.
She encouraged people to come to the store.
“There is not a lot of people in the store at one time,” Ayers said. “We keep it sanitized well, clean and germ-free as possible.”
Khristopher Taylor, an owner of Reassigned Blessings, said people have some trepidations about going out and it has taken some of the focus of buying home decor and furniture.
“I think it has shifted people’s attention to what they feel like they need desperately, which is food and toiletries,” he said. “We have felt this week that people are starting to come out a little bit more.”
Taylor said this would impact everyone in some way.
“People are afraid to spend more because they don’t know what is going to happen with their jobs,” he said. “I think it is causing panic and causing people to be tighter with their purse strings for nonessentials.”
He encouraged people to support local businesses by buying gift certificates.
Taylor said he is a person of faith.
“My faith is not in man,” he said. “It is not in the public health department. It is truly in God because he is going to have be what carries us through. So far, he has blessed us and kept us going.”