Small Businesses Hope for Guidance Amid Possible Extension of Stay-at-Home Order

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to announce whether he will extend the state's stay-at-home order past May 4

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While Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to make an announcement sometime this week on whether he will extend the May 4 stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure, small businesses are now wondering how the decision will further impact them.

Charlotte Walsh, the owner of Charles River Running, has been selling footwear and apparel out of her Norwood store for the past eight years. She closed her doors when the COVID-19 pandemic hit six weeks ago.

"It's more than a store. It's also kind of a running clubhouse," Walsh said Monday.

Walsh furloughed her two employees, started an online business and applied for government relief funds. But now, with the state's stay at home order set to expire on May 4, she wants to know, what is going to happen next.

"We're just waiting to have some type of sign or date or hint of some point in the future that we can look forward to and start preparing for," she said.

Chris Carlozzi of NFIB/Massachusetts Small Business Association says they've reached out to their membership and found small businesses are willing to do what is necessary to reopen.

Carlozzi says business owners know that getting back to work will happen slowly and will need to do so safely but he says they need to know what sanitation and protective gear to have in place and what rules they'll need to follow.

"There's going to be steps that need to be taken so we certainly hope the governor makes more of a public statement on reopening in the coming days so they can start to prepare," Carlozzi said.

As anxious as Walsh is to get back up and running, she says she understands the responsibility the governor has to get the timing of the transition right.

"I don't think anybody wants things opened up before the right time because we don't want to have to shut down again in the fall," Walsh said.

Walsh added that she knows things will not be the same when she reopens but wants to be prepared and ready for when that day comes.

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