Coronavirus concerns bring Chesterfield business to ‘screeching halt’

Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 09:58:00-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Shawn Martin spends his Saturday morning making t-shirts and hoodies at Soccer Post in Chesterfield County.

"We're a soccer specialty store and we service a lot of the high schools and clubs in the area," Martin said.

He and his wife have owned their Chesterfield store for nearly a year, selling everything soccer related. Martin said this time of year is usually the busiest.

"Because of all the starting up of the high school league teams starting and the tournaments," Martin said.

But business has been the slowest to date, with recent school closings and sports cancellations due to the growing concerns of the coronavirus.

"We were well over our goals every single day, every single week," Martin said. "And over the past couple of days we've kind of come to a screeching halt."

Chesterfield Health District confirmed Saturday morning its first case of the coronavirus.

Officials said the man in his 60s recently, who recently returned from an international trip, is doing well and did the right thing by self isolating when he got home.

Chesterfield Health District Director Dr. Alexander Samuel said the case does not come as a surprise, writing in a statement: "We have been on high alert for possible cases of residents with COVID-19 and are working hard to identify possible cases," said Samuel.

Meanwhile, response to the virus could impact small business owners like Martin for the foreseeable future.

"A dip in the economy like this and a dip in sales like this can really harm or be detrimental to small businesses like this," Martin said.

But he said they're continuing to look for other alternatives if things don't pick up.

"Whether it's through if we can find an outside event to go to, if we can find a way to add sales, find some kind of way to get customers back out. We're just simply hoping there comes a cure and things settle down very quickly," Martin said.

According to the National Federation of Independence Business, 74 percent of small businesses are not impacted right now by the outbreak. But 43 percent of small businesses think they could be impacted if it spreads over the next three months.