Businesses worry the Governor will extend the two-week pause

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As Rhode Island enters the second week of the state’s two-week pause, businesses are counting down the days to the end. However, as coronavirus cases continue to rise, many worry the Governor will extend the pause and it will last a lot longer than two weeks.

Health experts like Brown University Dean Dr. Jha say we’ll likely see the effects of Thanksgiving on the state this week and fear it will be one of the worst weeks for COVID-19 numbers. That makes the chances of the Governor easing up on restrictions less likely.

For businesses like Divine Barre of Providence, online classes are the only thing that’s keeping them going.

“It’s something. It’s not perfect,” owner Allison Bramhall said. “It helps keep people accountable and it helps us keep going.”

Bramhall, the owner of Divine Barre, says the first shutdown was hard. The studio opened for the first time in May and by March had to close its doors.

“We had really started gaining momentum right before the shutdown,” Bramhall said. “And then this happened.”

But, this time around, she says the two-week pause is putting their future in jeopardy.

“It’s terrifying. Absolutely terrifying,” Bramhall said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know if we’d be able to survive the shutdown, if we could stay open. If it goes on longer than two weeks then we’ll be in trouble.”

Businesses like Divine Barre and Rock Spot Climbing remain hopeful, but aren’t convinced they’ll be back up and running next week.

“We’re hoping for the best, but we want to plan for the worst as well,” Pete Sancianco with Rock Spot Climbing said.

Sancianco says it’s tough to plan for a re-opening when things are so uncertain.

“We already have plans in place, but if for some reason things go that way, we’ll have to execute,” Sancianco said.

Since they can’t open the gym at all, they’re focusing on selling clothes and climbing passes for the future to keep them afloat.

“Happening during the holidays is really tricky,” Sancianco said. “It’s a time for people to gather, for groups to come, but, at the same times that’s very dangerous in this situation. So, being able to tell people we have a 5-pack special where people can get something for the future is big because we want to continue our business.”

Planet Fitness Franchisee, Stephen Lukin, said even if restirctions are extended, fitness centers should be re-opened.

In a statement, Lukin said, “People need affordable access to fitness – and with cold weather and early sunsets, they can’t easily and safely work out outside. Even if restrictions are extended, fitness centers are safe and should be reopened.”

ABC 6 News reached out to the Governor’s Office asking if there are any plans to extend the two-week pause. We have not yet heard back.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island