Frederick business owners welcome phase 1 of Maryland reopening

Although COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to loosen in Maryland, some counties – like Montgomery and Prince George’s – want to take it a little slower.

In Frederick County, many restrictions are still in effect, but small retail stores can now reopen with new rules.

In downtown Frederick, stores like the Brick and Mortar on East Patrick Street were permitted to open at 5 p.m.

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They already have rules posted on their front window.

It’s a very welcome development for a historic town where dozens of small businesses have thrived.

The owner of Ec’cletibles, Paul Thompson, had to lay off five workers when the virus arrived, and he’s thrilled to be able to open.

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"So much of this I am not quite sure what to expect but just to see our regular customers again to help them with their gifting needs because we are a gift store that's what we do something special for everyone you know if I could get to fifty percent I would be thrilled to get there initially,” he said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit and the governor ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down, Thompson pivoted to a way of business that was completely foreign to him.

READ MORE: What phase 1 of Maryland reopening means for you

He offered deliveries within a 10-mile radius, and began taking orders over the phone.

The delivery service kept the money coming in.

Now, of the staff he let go, four are returning.

He has watched videos online giving him ideas, and participated in webinars.

Thompson says it’s been an education.

What he’s been through it not unlike many small businesses in the downtown area.

For now, they can reopen with restrictions, only a certain number of people can be in the store at any one time, and the county executive has asked them to limit the number of cash exchanges.

Thompson says he will not fully reopen until next weekend, but he’s ready.

"Our business is largely seasonal, our last quarter is huge so I'm hoping we get to that in good shape,” he said.