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'We have to stop the bleeding': Business owner says Maine economy will be a disaster if more can't open during coronavirus, COVID-19

Paul C. White, the CEO of Paul White Company, says Maine businesses that can protect their customers and staff should be allowed to open now during coronavirus time

PORTLAND, Maine — Under Governor Mills' new gradual restart of the economy during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses will be able to re-open in just a few days. 

Other will have to wait months.

One business owner in Portland disagrees with that. 

He says as long as businesses are following the proper safety protocols they should be all be allowed to re-open for business...now.

Paul White Company has been in business for 50 years, providing customers throughout Maine with new tile, cabinetry and stone countertops. 

But on March 25th business as usual came to grinding halt. 

"There is a lot frustration. We're closed down. People have to make a living," White said.

For more than month, due to COVID-19 and the Governor's executive order for all non essential businesses to close, their showrooms have been empty.

"We have commissioned sales people over there, we have customers that want to come in and see new granite countertops or a kitchen setting or a floor."

And they can--- at larger retailers. Last week White posted on Facebook photos and a description of what he saw at a big box store just two miles away from his showroom---in a department that sells the same merchandise he does.

"It was packed and their wasn't a lot of social distancing."

Social Distancing Video

White says the disparity between which retailers can and can't open is unfair. 

 "If we can provide the same services in a safe setting why weren't we allowed to be open?"

White says not knowing what to tell customers or staff about when they can re-open is the part that frustrates him the most.

"We're really left in the dark it's extremely frustrating and frightening actually."

Another scary thought White said is the future of Maine's economy if the state doesn't get back to business soon.

"We have to get open quickly to stop the bleeding. With that debt,the unemployment, failed businesses it could take years to recover if we don't get our act together quickly."

White says because his business is construction related he believes the might be able open as essential. But he reiterates that all small business owners in Maine, as long as they can provide a safe environment for customers and staff, should not have to wait a month or two to open.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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