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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Local businesses strive to reopen entering Phase 2

SUN. | 9-13-20 | NEWS

     While some stores have reopened amid the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses in Greenville remain unable to open their doors. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper moved into Phase 2.5 of the state’s “Safer in Home Order” on Friday, Sept 4. 

     With social distance, increased safety and cleaning protocols, restaurants can open up for indoor dining at 50% capacity. Many establishments, however, are to remain closed until further notice such as bars, theaters, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parks, gaming establishments and nightclubs. The city continues to promote the use of open spaces such as fields and greenways while still adhering to the necessary social distancing rules.

     Owner/operator and programs director, Stephanie Bardykin at Carolina Ice Zone, has had her business closed for about 6 months now after Governor Cooper mandated the stay at home order. Carolina Ice Zone, however, didn’t close for business completely and is still open for youth and teen camps which started when Phase 2 began on Monday, May 25. The rink is expected to reopen on Friday, Sept. 11, if all goes as planned with the safety precautions provided by the state, which is decided by the governor. 

     “Staff and campers are having temperature checks at the door [and] staff is continuously cleaning all common areas,” Bardykin said. “Only campers are allowed to enter the building.”

     Some safety precautions that all of these businesses have had to undergo include sanitizing surfaces often, wearing masks, social distancing, and making sure no one has been exposed to the virus. These precautions are crucial for the businesses that are closed as they reopen their doors in a short period of time.

     “We were already sanitizing the entire facility at least daily, with cleaners that are already approved to kill [the virus],” Hodges said. “We will be sanitizing at least twice a day, and reducing the number of small toys in the facility so that we can rotate them in and out during cleanings."

     One of the concerns of these businesses is whether they will receive sufficient numbers of customers to make a profit.

     “We will hope to have enough customers to pay rent and utilities,” Bardykin said. “If not, the business will need to apply for additional loans or grants.”

     The staff plans to use their email distribution lists as well as their social media to advertise when their business does reopen, but the facility will still be limited to 30% capacity.

     Chris and Jessi Hodges, the owners of Space Cadets Indoor Playground, were told that they needed to shut down on Tuesday, Mar. 17. Before the governor issued the executive order that closed indoor entertainment, Hodges’ business was already closed in days leading up to it. 

     Hodges encouraged everyone to seek other employment when they shut down and had to let their manager go because of the uncertainty surrounding reopening. This is something that a lot of businesses had to undergo as they closed doors for months on end. 

     “If the business comes back strong after the pandemic is over, we will revisit hiring a manager, [but] everyone understood this was out of our control,” Hodges said.

      The shutdown has been very real and detrimental to businesses around Greenville as they continue to wait for the day they can open back up to the public.

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Graphic by Murphy Fisher

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