East Texas small businesses bearing the brunt of coronavirus closures

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Friday at midnight was the last chance to sit down inside of a restaurant’s dining area.

This comes after Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order.

It also applies to local massage parlors, entertainment facilities, and gymnasiums.

It’s starting to take it’s toll on small businesses already. They are seeing up to an 80 percent drop in normal sales and have already had to lay off workers. That’s the last thing they wanted to do.

“We have one location here and I’ve got 80 employees,” Robert Owens, Traditions restaurant owner said. “I’ve had to do a temporary layoff for two weeks. These workers live paycheck to paycheck so we need to stay busy to help support them.”

“Primarily I’m concerned about my team that’s going without wages right now,” Shane Hunsinger, Milestone Fitness business owner said. “We are freezing our clients accounts for now.”

Milestone fitness and businesses like it are in a worse position than restaurants because at least the food industry can find ways to still work and try finding business in other avenues such as curbside delivery or pick up.

Other businesses around Tyler are also trying their hardest to avoid letting people go.

“It’s gonna hurt all of us,” Howard Charba, Grand Slam owner, said. “My main goal right now is my people.”

And with their facilities being closed down, they are having to only make a profit through their to-go menus, slashing their prices up to 80 percent and also offering alcoholic beverages to go.

“We took the lowest price we possibly could just to keep our employees working,” Cherba said explaining why his prices are now cheaper than some fast food chains.

Meanwhile, some businesses are booming not under the same restrictions.

“If the government is going to do it to us, then they need to take care of the whole problem,” Cherba said, sharing his frustrations.

He is now questioning why his business has to close if other places are still packed of people.

“If all they’ve done is take away half of the issue then the issue is going to continue,” Cherba said. “If you want to fix it then let’s fix it.”

The solution seemingly still unclear. Grand Slam just finished ordering an expensive disinfectant sanitizer for its air conditioning vents as well, spending a large amount of money on cleaning efforts just to have the facility forced to close anyway.

Governor Abbott only shut down businesses which he categorizes as “non-essential” businesses which is why we still have grocery stores open.

Small businesses need the public’s help now more than ever. If you would like to help Milestone Fitness, click here.

If you would like to order food from Traditions, click here. Also know their drive-thru will remain open.

If you would like to order food from a discounted menu at Grand Slam, click here. They also want you to know everything earned will go straight to the workers in order to keep them working and making money.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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