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Local 'non-essential' businesses worry about surviving Florida's safer-at-home order

Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 18:50:49-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At midnight, countless non-essential businesses across Florida will close their doors until, at least, May 1.

Clearer guidelines recently established, outline businesses like salons and thrift shops will close their doors for the next 30 days.

"Many, many, many, many small businesses in town will not survive this," said Karen Loewen, Tallahassee Action Grants executive director.

Tallahassee Action Grants the non-profit that owns Community Thrift Market.

"Everything we make over our overhead gets redistributed out to other nonprofits like Saint Francis wildlife, pay center for girls, elder care services," said Loewen.

Since opening five years ago, they've given more than $80,000.

Still, the business falls out of line with the governor's "essential" criteria, which only allows the following types of businesses to continue operating:

  • healthcare,
  • law enforcement,
  • first responders,
  • food and agriculture,
  • energy and water,
  • transportation,
  • public works,
  • communications and IT,
  • and government employees

Now, Loewen is closing the North Monroe shop for good.

"Really sad for us and really sad for all of our customers," said Loewen, "but it's something we have to do to survive."

At LA Styles, Sheila Nuñez says she's been careful, and stylists have switched clientele to appointment-only to avoid mass gatherings.

"At first it was an overwhelming response," said Nuñez. "I was like, wow. So for this crisis to happen, it was just like, 'Oh my God, I don't know what to do,' and it was very scary."

The new order brings new issues.

"With the scare and everyone losing their jobs and everything, even with a Google search, the numbers are there, and then the people booking appointments aren't there," Nuñez said. "Even though I still feel like hair care is still very essential, even if they consider us nonessential."

Community Thrift Market says they now have a lot of things they can't bring in the store. You can pick up free books to give to elderly family members that are shut in right now, or school supplies for kids.

The shutdown's ripple effect is trickling down to the non-profits this thrift shop helps with a percentage of their sales.

Including Tallahassee's Animal Aid, an organization providing low cost vet care.

"They do support us and many other groups in town," said Margo Garcia, Animal Aid practice manager. "It's going to have a domino effect and affect everyone in the community. Hang in there, folks. Please support animal aid and the thrift shop. Help keep us going."

Animal aid is also taking their own precautions due to covid 19. Nobody is allowed in except for employees. Those with sick animals drop them off in front, then wait outside.