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Buncombe County businesses prepare for the worst amid coronavirus outbreak

Stay home order in effect
Businesses deemed nonessential by Buncombe County’s Stay Home, Stay Safe declaration are trying to find other ways to stay open. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Businesses deemed nonessential by Buncombe County’s Stay Home, Stay Safe declaration are trying to find acceptable alternatives.

Places like Wild Birds Unlimited have been offering only curbside pickup and delivery for several days.

“I’m very thankful they’re doing this,” said one woman who was picking up bird feed.

Since no one is going inside the store, employees want to know if they can keep working.

“We want to try to do what’s right for the health and safety of the community, but we’re seeing if we can stay open,” store manager Casey First said.

BUNCOMBE 'STAY HOME' ORDER HAS SOME BUSINESSES WONDERING IF THEY QUALIFY AS ESSENTIAL

The owner over at Morgan’s Comics said if they can’t sell their comics curbside, they’re hoping to ship their orders.

“We’re going to put all of the inventory online so people can shop from their houses and we’ll just package it up and mail it out to them,” Morgan Albritton said.

Businesses said they are doing everything they can to not be the empty storefront that has been the case for many others.

“Some of the retail businesses stuck around as long as they could to determine at a point it wasn’t worth the overhead and the human resource,” said Austin Walker, president of the West Asheville Business Association.

ASHEVILLE TOURISM INDUSTRY SCREECHES TO A HALT AMID COVID-19 EPIDEMIC

Walker he thinks if businesses can hang on and the closure doesn’t last too long, once it’s over, things can go back to normal.

“When we come out of this, there will be a pent up demand for those services. So, I do think that we will jump right back into it if those businesses can ramp back up,” Walker said.

Until then, businesses said they’re doing everything they can to survive.

“Definitely been a little bit of an adaptation for our customers and for us, but it works. I think a lot of our customers are appreciative,” First said.

Mountain Bizworks is helping a lot of small businesses by offering things like:

  • Virtual learning opportunities
  • Tailored business coaching
  • New recovery funding options
  • And help finding and accessing a variety of other resources

Businesses can apply for an exemption to the Stay Home order by emailing business@buncombecounty.org.

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