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Wichita businesses feeling impact of COVID-19, now facing tough choices

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Many Americans are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the coronavirus, one way or another. For many, the virus is impacting their jobs.

The virus is posing many questions, but for Wichita business owners, they are being faced with whether they should cease operations or keep going? Now with officials requesting businesses to not exceed 50 people in an area at a time, it’s causing even more strain on businesses, leading to daily conversations with staff.

“The frustrating thing with is, it’s changed every day,” said Shamrock Lounge Owner, Justin Brown. “They’ve been ‘Hey, hang in there until we figure it out and we’ll get through this.’ Of course I want everybody to be safe and be mindful of regulations and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Shamrock Lounge was open for business Tuesday, and patrons were decked out in their St. Patrick’s Day gear to celebrate the holiday, but only in smaller groups. Brown and another staff member were keeping an eye on the front door, ensuring they didn’t exceed the 50 person limit.

Despite the vastly spreading virus, Brown said he made the difficult choice to keep his doors open.

“I was torn on what to do and I deferred to the guidelines the government gave me and of course keeping my employee’s interest in mind, I wanted to stay open as long as I can for them because again, this is their livelihood, it’s my livelihood too,” said Brown.

Pumphouse owner Cory Ross closed his business, after experiencing a 60% reduction in business over the last several weeks. The business opened in 2006 on March 17th, marking today as its 14th anniversary, which made it an even tougher choice, but Ross said for him it was the right one.

“We just don’t want to be part of the problem,” said Pumphouse Owner, Cory Ross. “We want to do the right thing, we all want to do our part, it’s something we all need to take part in. The next weeks are going to be really important. We have to see what we can do for our staff and what resources are available for them.”

Other local businesses say they are taking as many steps as they can, while they can to help their staff and businesses stay afloat. They are implementing curbside delivery, cutting back on employee hours and shortening their business hours.

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