New Smyrna Beach retail store choosing to stay closed over safety concerns

Many businesses are eager to open on Monday at limited capacity, but some are choosing to remain closed out of concerns over safety. 

The owners of The Florida Local in New Smyrna Beach say they're not planning to reopen their business on Monday. On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that retail stores can open at limited capacity on Monday, May 4. The Florida Local owners say that did not give them enough time to prepare for reopening under new guidelines. 

"Safety-wise I think it’s a concern for a lot of our customers," said Alonda McCarty, Co-Owner The Florida Local. "I think the time preparation period was just too short of a turnaround, to revamp, remerchandise, and put together all the precautions for the store." 

The Phase 1 rules state that retail stores can operate at 25 percent capacity and customers must keep their distance at six feet apart. 

"Our store is pretty small," said Co-Owner Chelsea Preston. "We have to figure out what our safety precautions are going to be going forward."

A concern for many small business owners is how they'll pay for all the necessary PPE and inventory to reopen. The Florida Local has applied for federal aid, but haven't received any money yet. 

"We’re talking about extra cleaning supplies, face masks, a plexiglass screen on top of being closed 6 weeks and losing revenue now we have this additional expense on top of restocking our store," Preston said. 

The owners also worry that not enough people will go out shopping to make it worth it to open. For now, they will rely on online sales and will hold off on opening. 

"I think it will be interesting to see who turns back to retail that quickly and comes back out shopping and gets into their normal routine because it doesn’t feel very normal yet," McCarty said. 
Orlando Health has put out this resource for businesses to follow as they look at ways to safely reopen.