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Why some Virginia businesses are choosing to reopen early

Posted at 11:32 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 15:53:14-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- As Virginia businesses grapple with the decision of when to reopen their stores based on dates laid out by Gov. Northam, some businesses are reopening ahead of the Governor's May 15th reopen date out of the necessity to pay their vendors.

“The last two months for us have been pretty bad," said Shawn Martin, Owner of Soccer Post in Chesterfield. “I mean we're full of inventory because we were stocked up for the busiest part of the year for us.”

Martin and his wife made their business decision before the state officially reopens.

“We needed to generate some sort of revenue to be able to pay our vendors," Martin said.

Martin said he received a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program but his business is still losing money in what is normally his busiest time of year.

“We do 40 percent of our business during for the year during the months of March through May," Martin said.

Customers were eager to swing by Tuesday.

“Those people that have come in purchased birthday presents, some soccer balls," Martin added. “That’s more or less what we’re selling the most of is things that kids can play with at home.”

Governor Northam said phase one of reopening Virginia will still include social distancing, and that the Governor will announce additional guidelines and restrictions.

Martin said he is following the current rules.

“We have hand sanitizer and things of that nature for folks that come in to sanitize their hands and be as safe as we can possibly be," Martin said.

But not all small businesses are sure about opening so soon.

The owners of Charm School Social Club in Richmond are on the fence.

"I will air on the side of caution, so will my business partner, and we will continue doing what we're doing," said Alex Zavaleta, who is operating Charm School Social Club from the to-go counter. "It's just not worth risking our worker's safety for ice cream."

Martin said he’ll continue planning for the worst and hoping for the best to get through this pandemic.

"If we can keep our hands from our face, if we use hand sanitizer , if we’re not shaking hands, if we’re maintaining social distancing until this is eliminated then we feel we can continue to manage our store and manage our relationship with the community," Martin said.