Closure anxiety: Wichita businesses unsure of future; commission considers more restrictions

By Alexis Padilla, KSN, original article link

As cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 rise across Kansas, some fear we could be headed for another shutdown.

Wichita businesses are now on edge after the hospitals asked county commissioners for more restrictions.

“Honestly, a lot of the restaurants won’t make it if they go to carry-out only and that’s the big concern,” said Timirie Shibley, owner of Doo-Dah Diner.

United in the unknown, Shibley and a dozen other Wichita restaurant owners gathered Thursday evening wondering what will their businesses need to do next.

“Our staff is on alert, everybody staff is on alert. They all know that at any minute if indoor dining closes we will immediately reduce our front of house staff to almost nothing,” Shibley said.

Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis says no one wants a repeat of the shut down from March.

“There are some things that businesses may have to shut down, but I can’t tell you exactly what those are right now and until we work with Dr. Minns.”

Adding they have to balance their decision with multiple factors including the current numbers.

“The doctors told us that one in 10 people that go into the hospital with COVID die and that is a sobering statistic,” Commissioner Dennis said.

Meanwhile, businesses like Il Primo Espresso Caffé are simply hoping for transparency.

“I know it’s unpopular to close the businesses. I don’t want to close, I don’t but if that’s where we’re headed tell us. So, that we can prepare for that appropriately and be ready for the next step,” said Daniel Mariotti, Owner of Il Primo Espresso Caffé.

“If something is coming I’m gonna have to prepare for it as a business owner. You know, if that means I have to prepare my staff to be laid off or furloughed or what have you. It’s tough,” said Jacob Wayman, owner of Orangetheory Fitness Wichita.

Commissioner Dennis says he has not seen any drafts of the order yet. He expects the earliest a new order will be made is next week.

This article was republished here with the permission of: KSNW-TV