‘Non-essential’ businesses to close

Mar 23, 2020

A second shutdown order from Governor Charlie Baker has closed yet more businesses in Wareham. The Monday order, which took effect at noon on Tuesday, closes all “non-essential” businesses, including non-food retailers, salons and barbershops, and manufacturers.

While there are exceptions for businesses considered essential, the order has left Main Street, Wareham Crossing, and other shopping plazas virtually empty, and a growing number of  businesses are struggling financially.

Designed to slow the progression of the deadly coronavirus to avoid overwhelming hospitals, the order does not require people to stay at home, although Baker urged people to limit their contact with the outside world as much as is possible. 

The order will be devastating to many small businesses. 

“We’re very concerned about the economic impact, but we’re all in this together, and we’ll get through it,” said Chamber Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce President Marie Oliva. “Any business can contact us, whether they’re a member of the chamber or not. We’re about servicing the community, so anyone that needs help can contact us.”

The chamber has compiled a number of resources for businesses on its website, including information about emergency loans available to businesses, how to file for unemployment, and links to other organizations offering aid. 

The website also lists business that are still open, including restaurants that are offering take-out or delivery. 

David Smith, the president of Factory 5 Racing, said that he had hoped a mandatory closure wouldn’t come to pass.
In recent weeks, he and his employees have taken extra precautions. Employees that need to work in small groups have stayed separate from others, the break room has been closed, and the gallery has been closed to visitors.

Smith said that he and the company’s 38 employees will do their part by staying home. Currently, everyone at the company, including Smith, has been laid off. Smith said he hopes that the federal aid currently being discussed in Congress will come through, but, if not, the company will make up the difference. 

“At eight o’clock a.m. on April 8, we’ll be back at full speed,” Smith said.

Some businesses, like Cup2Cafe on Cranberry Highway, have decided to close although they could legally stay open.
The cafe announced on Monday that it would be closing at noon on Tuesday through April 7 to “ensure the safety of our staff and customers.”

Chris Gabriel said he feels lucky to have diligently saved money over the decades he has been in business.

“I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a good business for 41 years, but this is a tough one,” Gabriel said. “I’m not gonna go out of business, but this will be a tough road.”

Essential businesses, including grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, and liquor stores, will remain open, as will restaurants offering take-out or delivery. 

Verilife will be able to sell medical marijuana, but not adult-use marijuana. 

The breakfast and lunch program run by the schools will continue.

For more information about the Chamber of Commerce, and to access resources, go to www.capecodcanalchamber.org.

For the latest information from the state, go to mass.gov.