As we all hunker down in our homes amidst the growing threat of the coronavirus, local small business owners are feeling the effects. Now, with the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey ordering all non-essential businesses to close, even more adjustments must be made.
Kosta Karaminas, owner of Angelo’s Restaurant in Easton, says that he noticed less customer traffic in the restaurant starting on March 12. The first Northampton County coronavirus case was announced on that date.
“Up until then it was relatively normal,” he said. “Of course, I’m worried about a temporary closing because the restaurant is my family’s bread and butter. We can weather a closing if we need to, but for no more than three weeks tops.”
To keep customers and staff safe during the public health crisis, Karaminas said that he was doing his part by keeping in contact with the city of Easton’s health department and following their directions. Waitresses and staff were being extra vigilant with hand washing and sanitizing.
Chatter among his regular customers was all about the coronavirus, Karaminas said.
“People are concerned and rightfully so,” he said, “but perhaps we can look at this forced slow down in a positive light, kind of like a reset for society.”
Jessica Dellmyer-Yusko, owner of Baransu Yoga in Bethlehem Township, is looking at alternative ways to bring income in. She’s thinking about live-streaming classes.
“I’m trying to think about the overall community,” she said. “It is important for people to be mindful. Everyone is in a state of panic. We must move through with grace, clarity and calmness.”
Irma Ilao, a personal trainer in Milford, New Jersey, is also worried about the effect of the coronavirus on her business, but had not seen any slow down as of March 15.
Her clients were coming in, she said.
However, Ilao closed her business until further notice on March 16, due to the New Jersey state ruling.
“This is where I am grateful that I launched my online fitness group last year,” she said. “Though it is still new it may be my saving grace. Mostly, I’m thinking of everyone’s safety right now.”
Ilao will offer virtual one on one training for those who want to continue personal training.
Even in the midst of this public health crisis, there are businesses that must remain open.
Katina Bozikas, who, with her husband Dimitri, owns the Daisy Hill Kitchen and Grill, a gas station and grab and go deli/eatery, says that a gas station is a necessity during a public health emergency.
“We will stay open unless the state mandates that we close,” she said. “ We have never closed, not even in snowstorms. We service emergency personnel, EMS, police, etc.”
Bozikas also says that she has not noticed any slow down in traffic so far. “It’s been business as usual,” she said.
Safety is the number one concern, said Bozikas, for both her customers and staff.
“We have sanitizer at every register,” she said, “and strict hand washing standards were already in place. “
“We are remaining calm,” she added. “We are open for our customers who need us.”