Bristol, VA businesses taking a hit from COVID-19, 10 person gathering ban

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam enacted new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. He advised those 65 and older to self-quarantine and stressed adherence to federal guidelines of the 10 person gathering ban.

Virginians are advised to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people. It applies to all restaurants, theaters and fitness centers.

Now, many businesses, like the Black Bird bakery, are feeling the effects.

“It has slowed down business a little bit,” said manager Kimberly Smith, “it has affected most businesses that I’m aware of also.”

The Bristol bake shop is taking all necessary precautions and enforcing social distancing.

Despite Gov. Northam’s mandate on Monday, Black Bird Bakery is not closing down until they absolutely have to.

“As of today there’s some employees that have been sent home,” said Smith, “because we just don’t have the work for them to be doing right now.”

It’s a similar situation at Burger Bar. Owner Joe Deel said they have likely dropped 90 percent of their business.

“We’re only using our key employees,” said Deel. “Me and my wife are owner, operator so we’ve taken the paycheck out, we’re in here working and we’re just trying to divide our hours up amongst our workers so everybody gets paid a little bit.”

“We have three different areas that are totally separate, so we’re barely hitting the ten people group so,” Deel added. “I’m hoping this doesn’t last long, this kind of thing would shut us down.”

Workout Anytime-Bristol President Jim Williams said in an email, “We are taking this health crisis very seriously and are implementing in our gym the 10 patron order given by Virginia Governor Northam. We also will be following all local city orders as they are mandated as well as any other state orders.”

Gov. Northam said Wednesday that the state is working with the federal government to secure low interest loans for small businesses.

He also said those who are out of a job due to the pandemic should seek unemployment benefits.

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