Williston on when businesses should re-open

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 8:37 PM CDT
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It’s difficult to determine when it’s actually safe for North Dakota businesses to start opening again. Some people say they need to open as soon as possible to minimize the pandemic’s economic impact, while others say it’s not worth the risk of a spike in cases.

Some businesses have been mandated to keep their doors closed for almost a month. Owners aren’t sure how long they can keep losing money because of a reduced or interrupted revenue stream if the state’s closure is extended again.

“We’re able to apply for unemployment,” said owner of All the Rage Hair Studio Miriah Haas, “but the amount hasn’t really sustained me owning the business with all the utilities and just keeping the building open.”

Some are putting a lot of pressure on Governor Burgum to start opening up businesses once the closures expire April 30, but others say the solution isn’t simple.

Co-owner of Style Uncorked Boutique Kim Wenko said: “We could open May 1st, but then we’d have kids at home still. So, what does that norm look like for parents now who are struggling with homeschooling and trying to work in the office? You know, I just think we’re going to have to practice those good social-distancing things for a while.”

Most businesses are adapting well, but still losing money and employees.

City of Williston Mayor Howard Klug stated: “Let’s get this country going again, but first of all, we have to make sure we have complete cooperation of the people that are out and about. If you’ve got a scarf, if you’ve got a mask, if you’ve got a neck gaiter, pull it up. It may save one person. It may save the spread of this thing from quite a few different people.”

Businesses like movie theaters, restaurants, and hair salons will know by April 25th if they can slowly start back up.

Mayor Klug says once people can get back to work, he thinks the economy, especially in Williston, is going to come back in a big way.