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COVID-19 changed how business conducted

By Staff, 04/13/20 10:31 AM

PRESCOTT – Random businesses were contacted and asked what precautions they’re taking because of COVID-19 and how it’s affected their business.

Donnie Dillard, with Gilbert’s Lumber, said they’ve been busy as people staying at home are working on home improvement projects. However, customers aren’t allowed inside either store. On the hardware side, customers wait in the hallway and tell clerks what they need. The clerks bring the product requested and accept payment. On the other side, customers wait outside, but have to follow the same process. “People can’t browse like they used to,” Dillard said. “It’s inconvenient, but everybody seems to be patient and is doing the they can with the situation.”

Robert Loe, with Mac’s Home and Auto, said Mac’s is open its normal hours, but there’s only two people working now and business isn’t what was expected this time of year as the repair work has slowed down. There’s a quarantine area inside the store people are asked to stay behind at the front desk. Customers are dealt with one at a time. So far, he said, people are respecting it.

Bobby Smith, at NAPA, said they’ve put up face screens at the counter and keep the counter and keyboards sprayed down regularly, along with the stools and handrails on the door. Hand sanitizer is on the counter for customer use. He said NAPA is developing its own hand sanitizer and he’s waiting for it to come in. NAPA has Spray 9 disinfectant and some face masks, but the masks go fast. The business also has a lot of surgical-type gloves, especially in large and medium. Customers, he added, wait outside and are keeping their distance. “A lot of people are taking precautions, but the weather has slowed us up more than anything.”

Debbie Crowder, with PSE, said the office is closed to the public, but transactions are made at the front door. These days, she said, crews don’t go into people’s homes to do pest control, though what PSE does is considered an essential service. Crews wear PPE if they have to enter a house and the owners/renters must sign a release saying PSE isn’t responsible for any harm done.

The state, she continued, cancelled its contract with PSE, costing the business around $120,000. As to spraying, she said it could run into the fall because of the weather. Additionally, people have cancelled jobs because they’re now unemployed and having to decide between having pest control done or buying food. “We do call and make sure we’re serving those who want our services, but we’re taking a hit. I think everybody is.”

One employee has been furloughed because of COVID-19. PSE is applying for loans from the Small Business Administration, but Crowder said she isn’t sure they’ll qualify.  “It’s a scary time. We’re in the dark like everybody else.”

One of the companies PSE deals with for PPE has said PSE will have to work with what they have. The business has also been told it can only get its normal orders, nothing extra. Ordinarily, crews wear masks with respirators and cannisters along with kyvec suits. “We’ve never faced this as a nation,” she said. “We weren’t prepared for it.”