NEEDLES — The coronavirus has impacted small businesses all over the United States.
Locally, Express Hardware and Colorado River Plumbing are still in business and are doing everything to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“We disinfect countertops, doors, registers and our credit card signing pads every two hours and if we get a rush, we disinfect right after that,” said Lindsey Payson. “We try to keep the door open to keep the air circulating.”
Payson said that the businesses are practicing social distancing when they are helping customers.
One of the ways that they are practicing social distancing is they have a blue piece of tape on the floor six feet away from the cash register. They have postings around the store from the California Department of Public Health on how to prevent spreading COVID-19.
“Our employees are washing their hands frequently and sanitizing when they can’t,” said Payson. “We are working closely with city officials to be certain that we are staying in compliance with what the state recommendations are.”
Payson said that she did have a meeting with her manager and staff at the Hardware Express to remind them to keep things clean.
“Most of our customers are elderly so we do want to keep a safe environment for them to shop for essentials,” said Payson. “When we saw that the toilet paper was going to be an issue, we tried to order extra cases for the hardware store through our regular supplier and cleaning supplies. We were able to get the cleaning supplies but not the toilet paper but we continue to order every Monday disinfectant, gloves, masks, toilet paper and paper towels to continue to keep those in stock for our Needles residents.”
Payson said that their service’s plumbers still are going into people’s homes but they are taking precautions.
“We are asking customers if anybody is showing any symptoms in their homes before we send our plumbers there,” said Payson. “We are reminding our plumbers to not touch their face and wash their hands before and after going into someone’s home. Because they are working in a personal space and confined space. We want to keep providing the service.”
Payson said that it is important to shop locally to keep employees busy and to keep stores open.
“So far we haven’t seen a down at all and we plan to keep our store open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday,” said Payson. “It is important to shop local if you can and we do strive to keep our prices competitive with the big box stores.”
The first item that Payson saw that people were purchasing from Express Hardware was masks, including painting masks.
“I was having community members messaging me if we had N-95 masks which we didn’t and we can’t get those from our suppliers,” said Payson. “The regular painting masks went first, then the cleaning supplies and then our toilet paper. But we are doing our best to bring in the supplies that people are asking for.”
As a community member, Payson said she feels the effects of COVID-19. The church she and her family attend has shut down, both of her daughters are at home from school and a trip to New York was canceled.
“As a family, we are trying not to get anxious about the situation but we know that God is sovereign even in this. Panic never helps anything,” Payson continued. “I would like to say that we are trying our best to provide a healthy and safe environment to our Tri-State area of customers and we hope to stay open throughout this COVID-19 crisis.”