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Local businesses start to feel the impact of coronavirus

A typically busy flower shop and D.C. taxi drivers said they’ve seen a sharp decline in business since the quarantines have started.

TAKOMA PARK, Md. — There were plenty of people out and about on Saturday across the DMV, but there were also plenty of local business owners struggling to figure out what’s next during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“So I'm kind of prepared and, in my mind, at least, emotionally calm,” Park Florist owner Jeanne Ha said.

Ha’s said her Takoma Park store is typically jam-packed during the spring with supplying floral arrangements for meetings, corporate events and conferences.

Since coronavirus precautions began, she said the calls to cancel keep coming in.

“One by one for sure we've got phone calls and emails and they're saying, you know, I'm sorry,” Ha said. “Now my current events calendar for March in April is totally cleared, which we usually have like two or three big events.”

She said all of her spring weddings have also been canceled.

She said she’d been preparing for this, but now that it’s here it’s forced her to budge more tightly.

Credit: WUSA
Ha said in her 17 years as owner of Park Florist she has never seen an overall impact like the one she has seen as a result of COVID-19.

“So I have to tighten my staffing and I already cut down my orders for fresh flowers,” the business owner said.

She said as a business owner she worries the economy will be in trouble for a while, even after the virus subsides.

RELATED: Maryland coronavirus update: 9 new cases reported, first MD patients clear self-quarantine

Like Ha, D.C. taxi drivers said right now is typically a busy time for them, and that busyness has been cut short with festivals, colleges, and museums changing schedule or canceling altogether.

Credit: WUSA
Cab drivers said they had been waiting three hours to pick up a rider on Saturday. They said this week has been extremely slow.

“This week has been extremely tough, and I started noticing that this past Monday, you know, due to the coronavirus,” Tony Akintujoye said. “We're hoping that the people in charge of the taxicab operation in DC can, you know, can step in and try to help us out because it's totally dead.”

Akintujoye said he had been waiting three hours to pick up a rider at Union Station.

Femi Ade was parked behind him also waiting for riders. He said he’s not making any money, and he has bills to pay.

“Because if I'm not making money it's gonna affect all my bills, I won't be able to function,” Ade said. “Nobody's looking at us, the government is paying attention to us, so we on our own.”

When it comes to managing the lapse in business, Ha said she’s choosing joy and instead of promoting to corporate businesses, she’s choosing on focusing on making her community better. Since she said corporate businesses are also on a tight budget.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Here's what happened in the DMV this week

“There's nothing I can do about this, then why not,” Ha said. “And rather than anxiety and nervousness and fear, I want to pull all this positive energy and make it an opportunity to bring together.”

Ha said Park Florist is talking about lowering their minimum delivery and also discussing offering free flower delivery in an effort to get flowers to people who need them.

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