TOWN OF VIENNA, Va. (WDVM) — Friday was the first day of Northern Virginia’s Phase One of reopening. The Town of Vienna, home to over 1,800 independent and small businesses, is preparing for a weekend of expanded outdoor seating.
On Monday, Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou hopes the Town Council will pass a proposed emergency ordinance to allow for expanded outdoor seating for the next 60 days. The town is assisting business owners in accommodating outdoor seating in compliance with its regulations.
Monkou surveyed the town’s small businesses between April 22 and May 15. 94 responded; many of which were businesses of one to 10 employees. Monkou says all of them are struggling. “Some of them have had to cut staffing hours but also had to lay off employees…some of them have not taken a salary at all throughout this whole process,” Monkou said.
Among the businesses that are flipping their signs from “closed” to “open” is sundown & rise up salon in the Town of Vienna. Last week, the town named owner and stylist David McCarthy entrepreneur of the year. The award was part of the town’s Business Appreciation Campaign, which ran from May 18 to May 22. Monkou says the campaign was a way to “inject joy” into those businesses and to prompt customers to support them.
McCarthy is not only navigating this “new normal” as a business owner (and the town’s entrepreneur of the year). He’s also navigating it as a new business owner. But McCarthy is lucky: his salon is only a two-person staff and since announcing they’d reopen on Friday, sundown & rise up is fully booked for hair appointments through the end of June.
And since the staff is small, their salon is rarely full. “In a normal situation, before COVID, there was no more than five or six people here,” McCarthy said. “Now, there will be no more than four people so it’s not much is really going to change.”
“With the current situation – even if COVID wasn’t here and you’re just as a business doing things you always did and didn’t accommodate to the present times you’re going to get lost so it’s just a new venture you’ve got to tap into,” said McCarthy. He closed his salon a week before the governor mandated closures of unessential businesses and used the space to sew about 60 face masks.
“It’s going to be, definitely, a good test weekend and we’ll see what happens from there and we’re happy to move adjustments as we see the community’s response,” Monkou said.
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