Local businesses feel the impacts of coronavirus

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local businesses are used to the peak tourism season beginning this time of year, but with coronavirus, not as many people are shopping.

Rosemary Beach businesses say they are feeling the financial impacts from the coronavirus. (WJHG/WECP)

Rosemary Beach is normally packed with spring break tourists, and the local businesses rely on that traffic to make a living.

It's been a week since Walton County beaches have closed, amid coronavirus concerns, and already businesses along 30A are feeling the hit.

"So many of us kind of tough through January and February, waiting for spring break," said Jessica Standley, President, Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company.

Local shops, restaurants, and rentals rely on the business that comes from tourists visiting during spring break and summer, but now many are closing up their brick and mortar stores.

"It's very important. People are losing their jobs, it's scary for all of us," said Kim Wilson, Manager of Hissyfits.

"Local businesses here in Rosemary Beach are taking a hit from the coronavirus, but they're coming up with creative ways to still make a living."

"We're trying to reach out to people who are quarantined. We do curbside pickup but we're not letting anyone in the store. We've had the store completely cleaned, so we're just trying to come up with ways that people who want to shop with us can," said Wilson.

the president of Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company Jessica Standley says the outbreak has also impacted rentals.

"We did see a surge in reservations initially, with people trying to escape their areas and try to come to the beach," said Standley. "Once the beaches closed, that changed dramatically, so cancellations, which we're allowing."

They also say once the coronavirus passes, they're hopeful things will go back to normal.

"When this is all over, please come on out, shop local; we'll be so happy to see you," said Wilson.

One way you can help the local businesses is by buying a gift card to a restaurant or shopping online.

A lot of the restaurants say they're giving 100 percent of the gift card proceeds to their employees who earn tips.

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