Local businesses struggling with partial shutdown urge city for help

Devin Martin
Updated: November 26, 2020 11:10 PM
Created: November 26, 2020 10:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Thanksgiving and Black Friday, typically mark the start of a whirlwind holiday shopping season for small businesses. But, with the partial shutdown, they're now figuring out how to adapt to the Governor's restrictions.

For the next three weeks, bars and restaurants are only able to provide take-out or curbside pickup for food. As far as entertainment venues, they're completely closed down until December 18.

"Please if you have CARES Act funding, give it to the business owners that truly need it right now,” Katrina Pulham, co-owner of Air Insanity said. 

What was once a place for indoor fun is now closed, and Pulham says adapting to this latest round of restrictions is hard. "It's heartbreaking for us. In the entertainment industry, we don't have a drive-up option. A carryout option, we have no options. So when we close, we close basically 100%. We have no way of paying our bills."

Pulham says prior to the second shutdown, they were operating at 25% capacity, and during that time no staff member tested positive for COVID-19. 

She says now that we're in the Holiday season, adapting to these restrictions is difficult, "When I see, especially around Thanksgiving, the shopping and everyone out, other stores are packed.  You know we were only allowed to have 60 people at once inside of our 32,000 square foot building and then we're the ones closed down, it's frustrating."

Even in this partial shutdown, that's not stopping her from reaching customers. 

On Air Insanity's website, they have numerous Black Friday deals, but she says it's not enough, and she's urging the City of Rochester to help support local businesses. 

"I think the hardest thing right now is this closure is coming with absolutely zero help. We have so many brilliant people in this town; I really hope that they're looking at this right now at this new shutdown as a new opportunity to get creative,” Pulham said. 

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton says she understands the frustrations these small businesses are facing and wants to help, "The lack of federal guidance on this has been part of the problem and we do need them to step forward and support our local businesses so we can keep them going through this shutdown and then to be vital as quickly as possible."

Aiming to help businesses when they need it most.

“We want to make sure that whatever we do, will sustain and support these businesses throughout this period of closure,” Mayor Norton said.

In a statement sent to ABC 6 News, Rochester City Council President Randy Staver said the city is watching what happens in terms of additional federal and state relief funds and will respond accordingly.

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