Winter Park small businesses feeling impacts of mandated closures amid virus outbreak

Restaurant, shop owners say they won’t be able to sustain longer than 30-day closures

WINTER PARK, Fla. – The sidewalks on Park Avenue in Winter Park Saturday were nearly silent, except for the sounds of restaurants stacking up chairs on what was supposed to be a busy sidewalk art festival weekend.

“It is not only usually busy on Saturdays, this weekend was the Winter Park Art Festival, which is 61 or 62 years old and this was the first time we canceled it," said Tracy Klinger, owner of The Frank Boutique.

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Klinger was the only person in her Winter Park boutique when she told News 6 how COVID-19 is impacting her business.

“We are taking it day by day,” Klinger said. “The positive thing about it is, it’s forcing me to think really hard about the business model and what we can do differently.”

Klinger said she is shifting many of her items to make them available for online shipping. She is also paying close attention to what is happening in Washington, D.C., where senators spent Saturday negotiating a possible economic stimulus package and agreeing to offer a payroll tax holiday for small businesses.

Meanwhile, Klinger said the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce has alerted businesses about Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

Small businesses in Winter Park struggle to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. (WKMG)

Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he is setting aside $50 million to help small businesses in Florida immediately, while the federal government works out its economic relief plan.

“We’ve got the application filled out and we are getting everything together,” Klinger said. “If a loan is what we need, then a loan is what we need.”

Klinger said she has enough to sustain a closure for 30 days, but not much after that.

“I’m not so concerned about having to close,” she said. “I’m just more concerned about making the right choices for the business when it comes to the loan or a line of credit. Just trying to anticipate what this looks like on the other side of this.”

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