HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is set to outline guidelines for phase one of the Blueprint for Virginia to begin reopening during a news briefing Monday.
Many struggling small businesses are anxiously waiting to see if they get to reopen in the wake of the state's stay-at-home order, which forced the closure of many non-essential businesses.
Jimmy Comer is the co-owner of Hanover County-based RBI Services, which helps small businesses with insurance, accounting and HR services.
Comer's clients have been impacted since the pandemic shutdown many businesses.
“Right now small businesses are just not sure which way to move," Comer said. "Our business has actually had to close down nine other small companies.”
Comer said the last two months have been frustrating to watch as many of his clients struggle to secure federal small business loans through the paycheck protection program.
“Really that first round of money was like walking into Vegas and trying to find a hot slot machine, which one was going to pay out and that’s a problem," Comer said.
He added that even with the second COVID-19 relief bill for small businesses signed by President Trump last week, people are still waiting.
“The second round of money seems to be going a little better, but I still hear from clients who have not heard a word from their banks if they’re going to be funded or not," Comer said.
Meanwhile Governor Northam formed a COVID-19 Business Task Force for Virginia, which includes several small businesses in Richmond and big name companies like Amazon and Walmart.
Companies Comer hopes can beneficial to smaller businesses.
“My hope is that they understand that the small businesses world is what really needs some help -- and that they will put the best interest of all forward," Comer said.
Northam also is also planning on the possibility to allow some small businesses across the state to re-open Friday, May 8 -- and Comer believes that could be a step in the right direction.
“They need to have some sort of assistance, and if it means reopening some of their businesses so they can take care some of their obligations, then, yeah," Comer said. "We need to find some sort of solution right down the middle."
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid non-essential travel.