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Business owners let down by last-minute decision to delay Richmond reopening

Posted at 11:50 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 07:26:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With less than 24 hours before businesses and restaurants in Richmond were set to open their doors as part of Phase One of Virginia's reopening process, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced a formal request to delay the process in Richmond.

And on Thursday evening,Governor Northam approved the request.

But the business owners who claim to have spent thousands of dollars this week preparing for a long-awaited reopening say that they are disappointment at the last minute decision, and don't understand why it wasn't determined earlier in the week.

“It’s a bummer man. The businesses that are really struggling, it’s a major bummer for them," Bookbinders Seafood and Steakhouse owner John Taxin said. “I don’t quite understand why this wasn’t brought up on Monday."

On Thursday, Stoney sent a letter to Governor Northam asking for the delay, saying that he "cannot justify risking the health and safety of the residents, the great city of Richmond by moving forward with phase one."

Stoney said that the request was spurred after the city received data from the Virginia Department of Health on Thursday showing the percentage of positive tests of COVID-19 have been increasing over the past two weeks in Richmond.

Taxin said that the eleventh hour decision to extend the closure puts a damper on the work his team has done to prepare for reopening Friday.

“We spent quite a few thousands of dollars this week getting ready," Taxin said.

Meanwhile, Bookbinders will continue to do curbside delivery until they can get a green light in the future.

“I want to get the people who have not been working back to work so they can start making a living again and supporting their families and paying their rent," Taxin said.