Some essential businesses in our town were allowed to remain open after the City of Philadelphia restricted commercial activity on Monday. Here’s how several are adapting to support their neighbors and the larger Roxborough community.
In the past week, daily life in Philadelphia, the country, and the world turned completely upside down to combat an unprecedented pandemic.
As schools closed, grocery stores were overwhelmed and many struggled to socially distance themselves with masks and self-quarantine against the coronavirus, the City of Philadelphia called for extensive restrictions on local businesses as well.
Within the past two days, Governor Tom Wolf and Mayor Jim Kenney ordered that all non-essential retail establishments, including restaurants, bars, salons and others be closed to the public, and to public gatherings, for at least two weeks, as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread. Only hardware stores, pet stores, banks, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and a few select others are exempt from the shutdown, since they provide vital services.
Here in Roxborough, the sanctions hit home immediately. Some of the businesses that are an integral part of everyday life have closed down or adapted to serve customers during challeging times. Establishments, like Stanley’s Hardware at 5555 Ridge Avenue, have seen an increase in customers seeking essential products.
The store, family owned and operated for more than 70 years, has been a hub of activity since the virus first made headlines, with customers purchasing items essential to maintaining a safe and secure living environment. Now, with many Roxborough residents quarantined at home with spouses and children for two weeks, it’s also become a place to purchase cleaning products such as hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes.
“People are definitely working at home in some capacity. It has been very busy here.” said Alex Jaconski, son of longtime owner Mark Jaconski.
While the hardware store is busy, others are working to uphold city regulations. The city’s mandate to shut down bars and restaurants did allow provisions for delivery or take-out. Favorites like Roma’s Pizza at 6129 Ridge are doing strictly take-out, and have closed the dining area. There is no delivery. Owner Lina Algieri said she is taking things “one day at a time.”
Just down the street at Paw Prints Professional Grooming, at 6134 Ridge, owner Loreta Montenegro is coping as well.
Her business is one type of retail the city says is allowed to stay open, but for the first time in the 10 years she has been in business there, she has been forced to post a sign saying pets only, no owners allowed. She and employees are doing curbside drop-off and pick-up of pets for grooming, using anti-bacterial wipes to open car doors and handle leashes when customers pull up.
“We are under the special umbrella of pet services allowed to stay open,” she said. “But we are not allowing owners through the doors.”
So far, customers have been supportive of the measures, she said.
“They are so grateful,” Montenegro said. “People are stuck at home and no one wants to be stuck with a smelly pet. And a lot of breeds are difficult to do yourself at home.”
Next week, she plans to close starting March 23, and wants to protect her own employees and help limit travel to the Ridge Avenue commercial corridor.