Since mid-March, many local businesses closed their doors, but with Virginia’s Friday launch of Phase 1 reopening, many owners are unlatching their doors or have developed alternative ways to serve customers. The Citizen contacted more than a dozen businesses to find out how they’ve approached the challenges of the stay-at-home order and are adjusting to Phase 1 reopening. And there’s a range of ways local businesses are adjusting to survive.
COVID-19 drove the discussions during Tuesday evening’s Harrisonburg City Council meeting, as the council confirmed a local state of emergency and addressed the public’s questions about how the city could help those experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.
Harrisonburg businesses, organizations and other service providers made gut-wrenching decisions over the past 48 hours to dramatically scale back their interactions with the public. That has meant shifting to carry-out-only for restaurants, cutting back on hours of operations, limiting visitors to the hospital and, in many cases, closing up for the next couple weeks — at least.
Harrisonburg has one resident who is presumed to have COVID-19. Meanwhile, the public schools and universities are closed to students for the next couple weeks — at least. Employees at businesses and now JMU are being told to stay home if they can. The city has declared a state of emergency in order to apply for federal financial help to cover costs associated with managing the pandemic. And businesses already are feeling the pain of fewer customers and are bracing for that to get worse as area college students don’t return to town.
The Citizen will be updating as closings and other announcements as they are made.