Citizens want Virginia open

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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This Friday, May 15, the commonwealth will begin to gradually reopen the state’s economy and several Charlotte County citizens and business owners say it is time to do so.

“Virginia really doesn’t have a choice in whether or not to open in my opinion,” Claire Locke said. “If the states don’t get businesses back on track, I don’t see how the states are going to operate and provide funding for the upcoming years. We can’t just rely on the federal government handing out money in aid time after time.”

Locke says she is in favor of business opening back up while maintaining precautions to protect employees and customers.

Under Governor Ralph Northam’s Phase 1 of reopening, salons can operate by appointment only and with 50% occupancy. Kim Newcomb owner of the salon, Newcomb and Company in Keysville, says she plans to reopen Friday.

For Newcomb, her salon has been closed since March 24.

“My plan is reopening as long as the governor allows on May 15,” Newcomb said. “We will have to limit the number of customers in our business and use proper sanitation and wear a mask.”

Newcomb said she realizes the closures were something the governor felt was necessary, but that since her business is small, she could have remained open.

“Throughout all of this, I feel as if we could have been more sanitary than the larger establishments that were open because we can clean and sanitize between every customer.”

Currently, under Phase 1, restaurants can operate with outdoor seating at 50% capacity. Takeout and delivery will still be allowed.

For Village Drive-In owner Shellie Mclean, she said that her business has been blessed. “Our community has been very supportive and understanding,” she said.

According to Mclean, Village Drive-In shortened its hours closing at 3 p.m. each afternoon, but now plans to be open until 7 p.m. for take out orders.

“I think it’s time to reopen our state, and we need to support our local businesses more than ever,” Linda Vaughan said. “Small businesses are hurting. People are hurting too, financially and mentally. I know I need some normalcy in my life. But then, this virus is so real and heartbreaking.”

Vaughan further said that everyone still needs to take precautions, but it is time to reopen Virginia, but most of all, she felt churches need to reopen.

“Most of all, open our churches and pray more than ever,” she said. “We need God’s healing grace in our world today.”

During Phase 1, places of worship can operate at 50% capacity with drive-in and online services encouraged.

After closing to the public on April 1 in response to COVID-19, county officials began reopening some government offices to the public Monday, May 11.

“Operational procedures designed to promote social distancing and protect public health will be in place, and those visiting county offices are asked to abide by these procedures for the protection of themselves, county employees and others.,” County Administrator Dan Witt said.

Board of Supervisor Vice-Chairman and business owner Gary Walker said he was for opening the state as quickly as could be done while continuing to practice social distancing and hand washing.

“I think we have to get things back open,” Walker said. “My heart goes out to those not working.”