DC Businesses Pivot to Survive Coronavirus Pandemic

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“From Rosie the Riveter to Rosie the Pivoter of 2020.”

That’s how News4’s Jackie Bensen described the “can-do, get-it-done” spirit of four women business owners in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. 

Like entrepreneurs across the country, the owners of East City Books, Labyrinth Games & Puzzles, the restaurant Mr. Henry’s and the kitchen goods store Hill’s Kitchen have had to majorly change how they operate in a bid to survive the coronavirus pandemic. 

News4's Cory Smith reports on how local businesses are preparing for a different type of Mother's Day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Henry’s, which is still open, is serving as a hub for all four businesses after the three retail stores had to close their doors. Mary Quillian Helms, the owner of the family-run restaurant, said she was happy to help her friends and fellow business owners. 

“My staff is now doing very different things. We get deliveries every day from those three other businesses, and they’re alphabetizing those orders and they’re answering the phone for orders,” she said. 

At Clyde’s restaurants in the D.C. area, Mother's Day celebrations will go on. The local chain is offering special, to-go Mother's Day meals. And a florist is still putting together flower arrangements for moms.

Here’s where we are Tuesday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area. 

Nearly 52,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in D.C, Maryland and Virginia as of Tuesday morning. At least 2,244 people have died. Go here to see the data in detail

Virginia is planning to allow some businesses to reopen starting May 15. Restaurants, salons, gyms and other non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen with safety measures including enhanced cleaning. Restaurants must use less seating to allow diners to spread out, and employees must wear face masks.

“Having 50 percent of our business is not going to pay 100 percent of our bills,” one restaurant owner told News4. 

Gov. Ralph Northam expects Virginia to begin reopening with restrictions next week. Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter Drew Wilder reports.

In remarks live on News4 Tuesday morning, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents and visitors to abide by the stay-at-home order still in place. 

“As people stop social distancing and start mixing more, there are going to be new infections,” she warned. 

When asked to comment on Northam's decision to allow some businesses to reopen, she said, "He has to look at what’s on the ground for his jurisdiction."

An ice rink in Laurel, Maryland, that’s usually used for tournaments and birthday parties is being used as a temporary morgue. Mortuary vans drove in and out on Monday as Maryland Park Police officers stood guard. 

“It’s a sign of the times we are living in,” Del. Mary Lehman said. 

The Kennedy Center canceled or postponed more than 1,000 shows and events, including “Hamilton.” The 14-week run, set to begin June 16, was postponed. There was no safe way for casts to social distance, the Kennedy Center president said. 

The Kennedy Center announced Monday it's remaining closed through Aug. 9, postponing the return of the musical "Hamilton." News4's Tommy McFly reports.

And here’s just one example of the many people doing good in our region: Two technology teachers at elementary schools in Loudoun County are using 3D printers 24/7 to make face shields for medical workers.

“We’re feeling very motivated because there is such a great need for these face shields in our community,” one of the teachers said. 

Two Loudoun County technology teachers and longtime friends are using 3D printers to create face shields for medical workers. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports.
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