DC shopkeepers say order to close for a month came as a surprise

The sign on the door of Marie's Beauty Supply on H Street Northeast said the business would be closed until March 31.

The owner, Kenneth Kuemeta, says he was unaware D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's directive that all non-essential businesses shut down actually stretched until April 24.

RELATED: DC mayor orders closures of non-essential businesses in the District amid COVID-19 spread

Kuemeta says for the last week he had only been allowing customers who purchased an item online to come into the store to pick it up -- a decision he made when so many people were told to stay home.

Shutting down for a month or more, he says, will take a bite out of the business.

"It is going to be really hard," said Kuemeta. "Because we expected this week to be closed so I kind of planned for that... I didn't plan to extend to the end of April, so it is going to be hard to juggle all of that around and come to terms to April 24."

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The small shop across from Ben's Chili Bowl specializes in wigs, hair care, and skincare products and relies on not only walk-in customers but consumers who shop online.

With the order to shut down, Kuemeta says he will have to rely on his online business and will have to find a company to ship with.

He has already sent home one employee and he and his mom have been picking up the slack.

"Hopefully with some of our savings we can still keep this running," said said Kuemeta.

The beauty shop owner says he had a "rainy day" fund but closing for more than a month will hurt.

Kuemeta says he will apply for one of the 25,000 dollar grants the Mayor announced will be available for small business owners, non profits and Independent Contractors.

Money that can be used for wages, benefits, inventory, rent, and utilities.

The non-essential businesses have been ordered closed by 10 PM Wednesday night.