Some Virginia businesses slow to reopen even when allowed to

Most of Virginia is in phase two of reopening, yet many businesses remain closed or continue to offer extremely limited services.

In fact, in many cases, people continue to work from home and probably will for some time.

Several different factors are reportedly contributing to businesses remaining closed and employees continuing to work from home.

Most importantly, businesses say they were notified just last Tuesday about the requirements they needed to meet to reopen Friday as part of phase two.

Even so, there’s mixed reaction about a return to work.

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“I think if I had to go back I think it would be a little more chaotic. I would be a little more hesitant to go back because I have a five-year-old and he has a blood disorder so I have to be careful who I’m around,” said Monique Mayo, a Stafford resident.

“Right now, I’m just waiting for guidance from the company. I’m a government contractor so when they say come back in the office, I’ll be heading back downtown,” said John Murphey, a Stafford resident. “I’m ready for everything to get back going again."

"There’s a couple of environmental factors that are at play here. One is an unintended consequence of the federal CARES Act. They provided an additional $600 weekly,” said Kyle Allwine, Director of Government Affairs for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

For many businesses, it’s just been too short of notice ahead of various phases to provide safe environments for their customers.

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce says businesses are resilient and many businesses are created by entrepreneurs who are familiar with adapting but they could be close to reaching their limit.

One business owner says, “You can only recover as much as you can before you’re limited by guidelines — including a shifting landscape and not knowing what’s coming next.“

Many businesses are reportedly struggling to get employees to return to work due to what’s been described as an unintended consequence of the federal cares act that provides an additional $600 weekly payment in addition to unemployment benefits — some employees choosing to continue to receive unemployment benefits rather than return to work.

A return to work for many companies means additional measures in places to ensure safety and the good health for employees.

“We’re using professional grade thermometers that have been tested and able to withstand the volume of temperature taking that will take place,” said Dr. Olunwa Ikpeazu, a Co-Founder of Fever Capture.

Ikpeazu’s company is offering training and hardware for employers to help with preventive measures against the coronavirus as employees return to work.

Returns will likely be staggered, sneeze guards in place, mandatory masks and gloves.

Most notably, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has said enforcement is not on the shoulders of businesses but the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce says many business owners feel otherwise.