He says some small businesses may never reopen.
Frederick, Md (KM). Since a number of restrictions put in place by the Governor to battle COVID-19 have been eased, many people feel it’s back to normal when it comes to local businesses. But Frederick County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Weldon says not all small companies have reopened, and some may never open again.
“Our Governor, Larry Hogan, issued a press statement the other day saying 98% of Maryland’s businesses are open,” he says. “I’ll tell you what he didn’t say: he didn’t say that 98% of the businesses in Maryland are profitable There’s a huge gulf between being open, and turning a profit and being successful while being open.”
Weldon, who was a guest recently on WFMD’s “Morning News Express,” said some of these businesses may never come back. “How about the Appleby’s over by FSK Mall: Appleby’s running all these commercials saying ‘welcome us back.’ Uh Ah! Not ours. Or Romano’s Macaroni and Grill. down at Westview. They’re gone. They’re not coming back,” Weldon said.
Earlier this year, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Larry Hogan ordered a large number of non-essential businesses to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. A number of those businesses have been allowed to reopen with restrictions. Restaurants can have indoor dining at 50% of capacity, and only six people to a table unless they are family members. Movie theaters and other large entertainment venues still remain closed.
During his interview, Weldon said these movie theaters should reopen with social distancing and other measures to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. He said there closures are hurting business people such as Rich Daughtridge, the President and CEO of Warehouse Cinemas which is planning to open up at the former Frederick Town Mall.
“Frederick isn’t ready for how awesome this place is,” says Weldon. “And Rich can set up his ticket sales system to socially distance through sales. You and I buy two tickets, then two seats in front of us, two seats beside us, two seats behind us, all get blocked and can’t be sold.”
“Let the guy open,” Weldon demanded. “:People who don’t feel safe shouldn’t go to a theater.”
During a news conference a few weeks ago, Governor Hogan ordered the Department of Health to issue a travel advisory, encouraging Marylanders not to travel to states with positivity rates of 10% of higher. They are Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and Idaho. Many of those states reopened too soon after being shut down to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and their COVID-19 cases increased.
By Kevin McManus