FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, local shops are closing and restaurant dining rooms are empty. Some small businesses are struggling to keep the lights on.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releasing new guidelines revolving around social distancing, some local worker's livelihoods are being threatened.
When opening your own business or working as a waitress, a pandemic is not a situation you necessarily prepare for.
For salon owner and stylist Rachel Foshe and waitress Clara Bartel, the pandemic is now a reality.
“It’s scary and the uncertainty of it all is the most bothering of it,” Bartel said.
Bartel works at Tiny Tims Pizza and says after a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Fayetteville, their tables have been empty. A situation she says leaves her working a full shift with not much money in her pockets.
“If people don’t come then I am surviving off of my hourly and I’m not really what holds for the future,” Bartel said.
Tiny Tims is still open and offers to-go options for customers.
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For Midtown Salon owner Foshe, she decided to no longer take clients at her shop.
“As a hair stylist we are in very close contact and physically touching our clients the entire service and I felt like it wasn’t the right thing to do to continue working being in such close quarters,” Foshe said.
The choice wasn't easy, but with a son at home who is immune-compromised, Foshe says her family's health is more important than her next paycheck.
“It was a really stressful choice because as self employed, I don’t get paid unless I work,” she said.
For both Foshe and Bartel, the future is a bit uncertain. And as the coronavirus continues to spread, at this time they both hope others will consider supporting local businesses so Fayetteville can make it through this time together.
“Just support your friends support your local businesses and try to stay local right now,” Foshe said.
"I believe that everyone does what we are supposed to do then we can get through it as a community," Bartel said.