Businesses react to Governor’s phased approach to reopen economy

Monday's announcement by the governor has some seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –  Some businesses on Hope Street Monday said they are cautiously optimistic about Governor Raimondo’s planned phases to reopen the economy, but would like more specific guidance about what that will eventually look like for them.

Since mid March, Hope Street has remained dark, with many businesses like Rhody Craft trying to boost their online presence so they can stay afloat.

Monday’s announcement by the governor has some seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Happy to open again but I also think that we have to know exactly how that would look like,” said Owner of Kreatelier Line Daems.

Since last month, Kreatelier has pivoted to making and selling masks online, while others have had to dive into the world of online shopping to try and survive.

“We’ve jumped in with gift cards, we’ve jumped in with links to purchase,” explained Owner of Luli Boutique Elise Michel.

“My saving grace through this has been puzzles! Unexpectedly puzzles,” said Owner of Rhody Craft Kim Clark. “A tiny little add on piece of merchandise that was not important to me before.”

For retail stores, the guidelines will remain similar to what they are now in the first phase, limiting
time in-store for the customer.

But some owners are wondering how to make their space safe for shoppers after that first phase.

“Customers are very anxious, they are used to buying online,” said Daems.  “They may just have anxiety, to touch things, to come in.”

“My surfaces I can spray and wipe down, and my hard goods I can spray and wipe down,” said Michel. But fabric, I believe, is a different story.”

Many have had to lay off staff, and are hoping to re-hire, though Clark says it likely won’t be right away for her.

“I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to go back to working seven days a week,” said Clark. “I think all of us right now are worried about everything but I’m just trying to not look ahead because we don’t know what’s out there. So I’m just going to go with the flow.”

In the meantime, you can continue to support small businesses online.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island, Your Health