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Buncombe 'stay home' order has some businesses wondering if they qualify as essential

Essential businesses
The Stay Safe, Stay Home Buncombe County emergency declaration has some owners wondering if they qualify as essential businesses and can stay open. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The Stay Safe, Stay Home Buncombe County emergency declaration is now in place for two weeks. But some owners are wondering if they qualify as essential businesses and can stay open.

“I think we’re essential because we have deliveries to the funeral homes, nursing homes, hospitals,” Swannanoa Flower Shop owner Terry Dorlan said.“For the shut-ins, the families that can’t see them, that gives them a ray of sunshine.”

Dorlan reviewed the wording on Page 4 of the six-page document that states companies that deliver goods directly to customers qualify as essential.

“That’s us. I mean, if the grocery stores can stay open and sell flowers, why can’t I stay open and sell flowers,” Dorlan said.

Still, Dorlan is writing the county at business@buncombecounty.org to make sure.

“Grocery stores, hardware stores, convenience stores,” Buncombe County Commission chairman Brownie Newman said. “They are clearly defined.”

Newman said he knows business owners want to know if they qualify. He encourages those with questions to closely read the document.

“To some extent, folks are going to have to use their best judgment on this,” he said.

Newman said a flooring company qualifies as essential since it’s part of the associated supply chain for construction, which is considered essential business.

Clark Hollins, who owns Hearn’s Bike shop on Ashland Avenue in Asheville, also considers his business to fall into the essential category.

“If someone has to get to the grocery store or work, if they get there by bike, and they need us to service it, fix a flat, then we’re doing a community service, and I think that’s important at this time,” Hollins said.

But Hollins said he thinks the order is a little vague.

The county at a Thursday afternoon briefing said more than 600 businesses had requested waivers to be classified as essential.

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