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All week WAAY 31 is taking a deeper look at the future for North Alabama. Tuesday, we focused on businesses.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s stay at home order forced a lot of them to close, because the businesses weren't considered essential. WAAY31 wanted to know what they will happen when, or if, they open again.
Louise's Flowers and Gifts located on Highway 101 in Lauderdale County said normally this is their busy season. The family owned business specializes in cemetery flowers and people like to come in and physically feel them or make a special arrangement. The owner, Sandra Cox, said sales this year compared to last year are down 75 percent.
"Our main concern is our customers well being. Once [Gov. Ivey] says it's safe to open our doors we will be ready to reopen," said Cox.
Cox said the coronavirus has forever changed her business. She said right now most of it is online and she sees a large portion of it staying online.
"We have an employee here now that is solely here for the purpose for social media sales and facebook. I just ordered a new backdrop for photographs so we are moving forward in that direction," said Cox.
Cox said once her shop is allowed to have customers again all employees will wear masks and gloves. She’s also making changes with how many people can be in the shop.
"We will only allow 10 in the store at a time. We will continue to offer curbside service and deliveries to the cemeteries," said Cox.
Tuesday morning, Ivey reaffirmed non-essential businesses will remain closed until at least April 30. She also hinted any re-opening will likely be in phases. Several mayors across North Alabama said they expect some kind of social distancing guidelines to remain in place even after businesses start to open. Cox said in times like this you have to get creative to stay afloat. She had this message for other small businesses going through what she is.
"Just hang in there if you can. Think outside the box and we've already started brainstorming for our Christmas open house that's a huge event here for our business and the community," said Cox.
Cox did apply for and get money from the paycheck protection program, but that money was used to pay for overhead and her two employees.