ALREADY HURTING

From hotels to soul food spots, area businesses are losing customers and revenue because of the coronavirus.

On March 20, there were plenty of people still swimming and relaxing at the beach in Daytona.
PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has our society and world on hold.

The Florida Department of Health has reported 28 cases in Volusia County and six in Flagler County as of Daytona Times’ Wednesday night deadline.

The local tourist industry is taking a hit with empty hotels and restaurants because of the coronavirus.

“Our hotels are operating at about 10 percent occupancy. Everything is shut down. There are layoffs. It’s going to be this way for a while. Nobody is staying here and there is only curbside service,” Bob Davis, president and CEO of the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, told the Daytona Times.

“Hotels are furloughing employees and working with skeleton crews. America hasn’t seen anything like this.

Fewer hairdos, less takeout

Black-owned businesses in the Daytona also are struggling.

Ophelia Robinson owns FiFi’s Beauty Salon & Day Spa at 400 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this. We are getting fewer customers. People are afraid. It’s nothing to play with. We should take it seriously. We pray that it’s over sooner than later,” she told the Times.

Local soul food eateries have lost customers and revenue. Even eateries that mainly have takeout haven’t been spared.

On March 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis directed all restaurants and food establishments in the state to suspend all dine-in food and beverage consumption for customers. Takeout and delivery orders are allowed.

“It’s getting bad. I had to lay off three people. It’s just me and the dishwasher now. More people are staying home. The college kids are gone and not coming,” shared Kenrick Flowers, owner of The Hood Kitchen by Chef KiKi.

“The school district and city employees who are not working aren’t coming. The internet is also backed up and acting up, which causes me not to be able to swipe credit and debit cards.’’

Flowers’ business is located in Pearson Food Town at 517 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.

The coronavirus has slowed up traffic in some areas in Daytona Beach.

Churches urged to stream services

Churches, particularly those with those large congregations, are streaming their services online. The Daytona Beach Clergy Alliance has also made that suggestion.

“We’re urging churches to follow government and health agency guidelines. We urge moving worship services online. We had a conference call last week,” stated the Rev. Victor E.

Gooden, president of the Black Clergy Alliance. Gooden also is senior pastor of New Life Church Ministries at 1625 Derbyshire Road.

What’s closed

Here is a look at some local closures.

The City of Daytona Beach has closed all recreational centers, parks and pools as well as City Hall. Most offices are closed. Youth baseball, T-Ball and soccer are suspended until further notice.

The Daytona Beach Housing Authority is only responding to emergency maintenance issues and adjusting rents for those affected by closures and layoffs. The authority is urging residents to communicate via phone and only visit the offices their apartment offices in dire situations.

Most county offices and buildings are closed but services remain online. Libraries are closed but have curbside service. Story time is conducted online.

Most municipalities have closed offices and aren’t shutting off utilities of residents.

Volusia County beaches were open early in the week, but vehicle access ramps were closed.

Volusia County schools are following the governor’s mandate with schools closed until April 15. Extracurricular activities are suspended until further notice. Online learning runs through April 15. Students can also pick up meals at designated schools. For more information, go to www.vcsedu.org/icp.

Bethune-Cookman University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College remain closed. Embry-Riddle and Daytona State are conducting classes online.

All state universities are closed and conducting online classes.

Votran bus services are running but taking extra sanitary measures. Visit votran.org for more details.

Gyms and fitness centers are closed due to a governor’s executive order.

FPL will not disconnect power services during this emergency.

The Volusia County Farmers Market at the fairgrounds in DeLand is closed until further notice.

Travel bans

DeSantis has mandated all travelers to Florida from New York and New Jersey must quarantine for 14 days.

The U.S. government has urged Americans not to travel. Travel bans are in place to most countries. The borders with Mexico and Canada are sealed.

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