Nonessential businesses in Florida told to close Friday

File photo (WDIV)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Businesses and residents are preparing for a long month with much of Florida closing its doors.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order, which will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. It will stay in effect until May 1. The order closes all non-essential businesses around the state and urges residents to stay home in an effort to fight the coronavirus.

Many businesses in the Jacksonville area, including Linen & Rust Home Furnishings in Orange Park, will be closing their doors because of the safer-at-home order.

“We kind of knew that it was coming,” said Will Comer, owner of the furniture store. “It wasn’t a huge surprise. Just a matter of when, not if.”

Scott Johnson has been talking to business owners and residents in Clay County about the governor's stay-at-home order.

The next door laundromat is still permitted to keep its doors open, as it’s considered an essential business. Inside was Carmen Jenkins, who works for a doctor’s office.

“I’m just worried about the safety of myself and everybody else,” she said.

RELATED: Can I go to church? And answers to your questions during safer-at-home order

Not everything will close, and News4Jax has put together an article explaining what qualifies as an essential business.

Clay County Emergency Management Director John Ward said law enforcement is ready to go around and ensure non-essential businesses close up. He is concerned about the order and how long it lasts, in part for emergency responders who now have an added responsibility to enforce it.

“My fear is the longevity of this,” Ward said. “In eight to 10 weeks what is this going to look like on our staff members, what are we going to look like in community exposure?”

The executive order includes exceptions for people who are obtaining or providing “essential services” or who are involved in “essential activities.” It also does not specifically identify consequences people will face if they violate the stay-at-home order.

Barber shops & hair salons are non-essential

Mo, the owner of Blazing Cutz Barber Shop, will have to temporarily close his doors due to the order.

“It’s going to be kind of hard for me to pay my bills, for my kids to go to school, especially now that they’re doing the online classes," he said. “I understand what the city is doing. I can’t cry and kick because the government is saying we have to close down. We have to close down.”

Business owners that are not considered essential are devastated by the orders that were issued Wednesday. These places have to close Friday. News4Jax reporter Corley Peel spoke with some of the owners affected.

Imad and Christina Herfy own I & C cleaners in Miramar. Their business is considered essential, so they can stay open, but they’ve seen production and revenue drop 50- 70%.

They said there are 5- 600 dry cleaning orders that need to be picked up and paid for.

“It’s sad, but I understand why they’re not coming in because they feel, okay, I’m not working. I’m not going to the office. I don’t need to dress up, Christina Herfy said.

The couple worries about their employees.

“I can’t keep them off work because they cannot afford it to be off work,” Imad Herfy said.

Mo said he hopes that his barbershop will be back open soon.

About the Authors:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.