Small stores hopeful they’ll be able to reopen when stay-at-home order is lifted

Stay-at-home order issued by Florida governor will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the clock ticked closer to 12:01 a.m. Friday, the time when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus outbreak will go into effect, nonessential businesses prepared to close. Though some wondered whether they’ll be able to reopen.

In Jacksonville, where Mayor Lenny Curry also issued a safer-at-home order that goes into effect at the same time as the governor’s, closed signs were going up Thursday on more small stores. Loretta Trentman, the manager of Beau Outfitters in San Marco, said their clothing store will be one of them.

“As of tomorrow, our front door will say that we are closed during the first time from this pandemic. Unfortunately, we want to follow the rules in order to keep our community safe and our staff safe. So will be following the mandates by both the mayor and the governor," Trentman told News4Jax on Thursday.

Trentman said while the store will be closed, they hope to stay afloat by doing business online so that the temporary closure won’t become a permanent closure.

“We are hopeful that we will have enough support to keep the business afloat during this time. I think it’s in the back of everybody’s mind whether it will remain open. There’s a lot of uncertainty but we are hopeful. The last two weeks we’ve seen quite a drop from where we normally are, but we had a great response from our customer base," Trentman said.

DeSantis said Wednesday he decided to issue the order, which will last for at least 30 days, after consulting with President Donald Trump and White House advisers, who have said Americans need to stay home through April.

The order makes exceptions for buying food, medicine and gas, visiting doctors, outdoor exercise and commuting to jobs deemed essential. All businesses not considered essential must close, but can let employees work from home where feasible. It also permits travel to religious services.

RELATED | What is considered an essential business? | Can I go to church? And answers to your questions about essential services

Curry admitted Thursday there was still a lot of confusion about what businesses are considered essential. He said it’s all a matter of common sense and safety.

“As I said yesterday, this does not mean you can’t go for a walk or run or a bike ride. Activities like these are still permitted. I would just ask you to practice social distancing. Keep your distance," he said.

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