Even though Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued an order Sunday for non-essential retail businesses, such as clothing stores, bookstores and vehicle dealerships, to close at 8 p.m. today, some local businesses were already preparing for such a move.
Urban Artsy had actually closed its doors last week because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to owner Katie Harris. She is still going to her store and providing curbside pick-up for purchases.
“We’re trying to take as many precautions as possible,” she said. “I’m glad it’s closing down now, but I think it’s just a little bit late.”
The Associated Press reported that Beshear’s order includes businesses such as furniture stores, electronics and appliance stores, beauty supply stores, eye ware stores, entertainment outlets, clothing, shoe and jewelry stores, bookstores, florists, office supply stores, and used merchandise stores.
Auto repair, parts shops and hardware stores are exempt from the order, and grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, liquor stores and gas stations will continue to remain open.
“This is the next step that we need to take to reduce the contacts to Kentuckians until we defeat this virus,” Beshear told the AP.
Harris said with closing down earlier, she has had to learn and adapt her Mayfield and Paris, Tennessee stores’ model to online orders rather than in-store purchases and emphasize promoting through social media.
“I guess I’m taking the good with the bad,” she said. “It’s teaching me how to be even more approachable to the social media audience as to where I’m a lot more personal with in-store customers.
“I’ve had people on my page tell me I need to be more tech savvy,” Harris added. “Now I have no other choice.”
Other businesses have made the move to temporarily close their doors or shift work. The Bloom Company floral design studio announced Friday it would close temporarily, and Jeanette’s Mayfield Flower Company announced on Facebook Saturday all deliveries and service would go through The Paducah Flower Company.
Like other businesses, King’s Flower Shop and Broadway Flowers and Gifts are not allowing foot traffic in their stores but rather are handling orders online and over the phone. Ernie Nelson emphasized ordering locally and not through national florists, and that King’s is still handling limited deliveries.
Tracy Elder at Broadway Flowers said she was prepared for today’s state order and will handle phone and online orders moving forward for deliveries and one-on-one meetings for funeral arrangements.
She said her flower shop saw a rush last week with several orders for nursing homes and shut-ins, as well as a cancelled 16th birthday party, even though flowers were sent to the birthday girl.
“I think it pushed people to send,” Elder said.
Harris said she’s staying positive throughout the current situation and is hoping people will be ready to check out her stores when they are finally able to re-open.
“Even thought what we’re going through is a rough time, I hope people will want to do online shopping or enjoy the Facebook Live videos and that will attract attention to a new audience,” she said. “When we aren’t in lockdown anymore, maybe that’ll engage them to come in our store.”