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Businesses likely to stay open until they are required to shut down

It’s business as usual until it’s not. And the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has ensured the unusual.

The latest executive order from the Florida governor’s office for restaurants means one less option for people looking to still get out.

We found businesses are probably not going to shut down until they are told they must.

Southwest Florida is hardly on lockdown, less busy maybe, but parking lots and roads were not empty in the middle of the day.

Robert Goodman is one of those people who’s been out and about. Although, he’s running his law firm from home, he’s been heading out to dinner and stores all week.

“It’s a freedom thing too, having the ability to get out,” Goodman said.

As a small business owner, he understands why businesses are staying open.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there or doing what I did, which is pacing the floor at three o’clock in the morning trying to figure out what do we do next,” Goodman said.

All that hand wringing likely means businesses will stay open as long as they can, or until the government tells them they have to shut down.

“So in the situations where that is still operating for them, it’s reasonable to think those businesses will try to operate as best as they can through this challenging situation,” said FGCU professor Dr. Shelton Weeks, who has a Ph.D. in finance.

Weeks says the Southwest Florida job sector doesn’t lend itself to a lot of remote work, which could explain the number of cars still on the road.

“There’s probably quite a few that actually have to go to work,” Weeks said.

But, as more and more nonessential services are shut down across in the nation and the state, it’s hard to say how long it will continue to be business as usual.

“Just hearing those words, “no nonessential businesses can be open,” it’s draconian,” Goodman said.

On the bright side, Professor Weeks says the things that bring business to Southwest Florida are not going away, so whatever loss there is now will come back. He’s optimistic it will come back stronger.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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