Businesses deemed nonessential—such as salons and gyms—have been forced to close temporarily to comply with county and state measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough issued a stay-at-home order March 27 in effect through April 12, which was followed by Gov. Greg Abbott’s proclamation March 31 limiting nonessential activities through April 30. Keough likewise extended his order to be in effect through April 30, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
As a result, Paint & Bubbles Studio had to temporarily close its art studio, owner Rachel Alarid said.
“This is having a tremendous effect on our business and our employees,” she said. “We are not able to offer our classes, parties or events right now, although we are looking into options for online classes.”
Alarid said not knowing when reopening will be an option has made planning for the future much harder.
However, Alarid said she is hopeful classes will resume and planned summer camps will proceed.
Tisha Butler, founder of The Way Family Dojo—a martial arts studio in Magnolia—is another owner dealing with the closure of her business.
“[We are] trying to find ways to adapt; it is a different world right now,” Butler said.
Butler said The Way Family Dojo has had to innovate to continue operating.
“We had to go virtual, and we have turned our living room into a dojo,” she said.
Employees at The Way Family Dojo are also out of work as the business's physical location has closed, she said.
Multiple business owners in the Magnolia area said keeping employees hired and paid has been a problem for many with all the closures in the past week.
Circus Strength Academy owner Mark McKay said he faced the same problem when he was forced to close his doors.
“I have one other coach, and she is no longer coaching now until we open it back up,” he said.
McKay is also looking into setting up remote services with limited equipment for his members.
“It’s a little early to tell, but we certainly hope to continue serving when the world open[s] back up. That’s the plan,” he said.
Closures can also leave businesses with no other options, Chrome Hair Salon owner Joyce Dean said. Her longtime Magnolia business was also forced to close.
“It's a horrible situation for a small business; we can’t work at all,” she said.
Chrome Hair Salon’s stylists are considered independent contractors, so Dean said none are legally allowed to work from home.
“We are hoping that everyone stays home and we can get open back up as soon as possible,” she said.
Melinda White, franchise owner of Cruise Planners in Magnolia, said business has been on hold for the travel agency.
“The travel industry is in a pause mode right now,” she said. “We did have some cancellations that we had to take care of for our clients.”
However, White said for a majority of the cancellations, she has rebooked clients for later in the year.
“Right now numbers are low,” she said. “But it is picking up near the end of the year, and 2021 is really good.”
White said many cruises have been offering customers either 100% refunds or 125% in future credit, redeemable by December 2021.
Taking care of existing clients has been the focus recently, she said, with few new clients recently.
“Right now we are slow, like everyone else in this business,” she said.