Stay-at-home order extended 30 days, business owners worried their shops won’t survive

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Thursday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he will extend the stay-at-home order by 30 days, with modifications.

Peoria city leaders said business owners are on edge, some saying they are weeks or even days away from losing everything.

Adam White, owner of RC Outfitters downtown Peoria said the past month on lock down has been brutal for business.

“I’m not going into the fight with one hand tied behind my back, I’m going in to the fight for the next 12 months with two hands tied behind my back and both of them tied to a long,” White said.

While the new order would allow “non-essential” businesses to make sales online or over the phone and also the option to offer pick-up and delivery service, white said he is still worried his store won’t survive. He said superstores like Walmart, Target, and Bass Pro Shop are still open to the public and selling some of the same merchandise he has in his store.

“Who’s at a greater risk at being a spawning ground for COVID-19? Walmart and Target and Bass Pro Shop or small Ma and Pa stores?” he said.

White said he can’t compete with superstores or online giants. He said the loosened restrictions may help him get some of the bills paid, but now with much more. “It’s better news than what they had told us in the past but it’s not enough,” he said. White has laid off 38 employees, both part-time and full-time. He, as well as his employees, have applied for unemployment.

The modifications will help some owners bring in money, but other businesses like hair salons are faced with a different issue.

“There’s been no income since the last week in March so you know it’s definitely been hit hard,” Adrienne Jones-Yarbrough said.

Hair services require physical interaction with customers, which means under loosened restrictions salons still cannot operate.

“Majority of our revenue does come from clients coming in the door and sitting in the chair,” Jones-Yarbrough said. Adding, it has been very hard for her because she has yet to receive government funding.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said he is not excited about the extension, but Gov. Pritzker is doing what is necessary to keep everyone safe.

“The concerning part for me is literally hundreds of business and thousands of people that are on the verge of losing their businesses and it’s a really scary proposition to be in,” Mayor Ardis said.

Mayor Ardis said there is nothing he can say that will pay your rent, or your mortgage, but his heart goes out to all affected. He is still encouraging everyone to abide by the rules.

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