Kelli Myers was still in debt from the 2018 floods that ravaged her store in Ellicott City when the coronavirus pandemic forced her store to close in March.
It had already lost $ 65,000 in merchandise, condensed its operations from two stores into one building, and halved its workforce. Then the coronavirus struck, forcing its store, A Journey from Junk, to close and leave it with a single employee working without pay.
It was a relief to Myers when Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) announced on Wednesday that stores like his could open at 50% capacity starting at 5 p.m. Friday. But she’s not sure if she’s comfortable letting her customers in, no matter how much she needs the money.
“Part of me knows we have to open, but the other part of me really doesn’t feel comfortable yet,” she said. “We thought it would just be a roadside recovery. We were not ready for this announcement. “
Hogan’s announcement on Wednesday evening surprised business owners on Main Street in Ellicott City. Although Howard County has yet to announce whether it will withdraw from Hogan’s plans to reopen the state, some business owners went on Wednesday evening to telephone calls and a closed Facebook group to try to figure out how proceed.
Melissa Hutchinson, owner of Gloss Hair Studio, couldn’t be happier to open its doors. His phone had “exploded” with neighbors desperate for a haircut since Hogan announced that small businesses could reopen.
“It has been very overwhelming since the announcement, but it is a good overwhelming, the best,” she said.
Hutchinson plans to start making an appointment over the phone on Friday before guiding staff through training on new disinfection procedures this weekend. She hopes the haircuts will start on Monday.
Dave Carney, who owns a liquor store on the street named Wine Bin, is anxious to follow Hutchinson’s haircut schedule, even though he has avoided grocery stores for fear of being infected with the coronavirus.
Sue Whary takes a completely different approach with her 15-year-old boutique, Sweet Cascades Chocolatier. She has “taken quite a few hits” over the years with the floods that ravaged her storefront, and she decided to play it safe by offering only a curbside pickup.
“How are you supposed to apply a mask in the store?” ” she said. “What if a client wants to chat with you?” “
Tammy Beideman, owner of Sweet Elizabeth Jane, plans to watch what her neighbors are doing before deciding how to proceed.
“I’m glad we have the opportunity to reopen, I just don’t know if we will take it,” she said.
“When you have two consecutive floods, it will take a long time to fully recover. Beideman said. “But now we’re just trying to focus on what seems safe. “