Business owners in Erie County worry about another possible shutdown as coronavirus cases rise

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ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie county has two weeks to reverse its trend of rising COVID-19 cases before businesses are forced to shut down.

“It could be scary. Could be devastating. I mean businesses have been closing everywhere. We’ve been around since 1972 and I don’t want to shut down yet,” said The Lion’s Mane Salon owner Michael Biscotto. His salon will be included in the list of high risk non-essential businesses to close, along with gyms and personal care services.

“We still have clients that haven’t been back from the first time,” Biscotto said. “We’re not as busy as we were before but at least we’re starting out. It’s just starting to get back to where we were and I’d like to continue that. I don’t want to start over again.”

Parts of Erie County are currently in the Yellow Zone. After 14 days data will be reviewed to determine whether the county reduced the spread enough to lift restrictions. If not, the county will enter the Orange Zone.

Biscotto worries what that could mean for his hair salon and his employees.

“I understand it’s a virus, it’s scary, but if we can work and the masks a effective then we should continue working and service out clients,” he said.

Amy Bueme, who owns Catalyst Fitness says if her gyms have to close again, she’s putting up a fight.

“We need to keep fitness centers open too build your immune system and to stay mentally and physically in a good place,” she said. “So we are essential so I will fight and fight and go down fighting to not close again.”

The Orange Zone would also mean schools will have to switch to switch to all-remote learning, restaurants would be outdoor dining, take-out or delivery only, and houses of worship will be limited to 25 people.

“As long as we continue to stay diligent, work together as a community in Western New York, keep the masks on, you know social distance, do everything that we’re supposed to do, we can stay here and have numbers drop, which would be great,” Bueme said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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