Business owners upset over lack of communication

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POSEY COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – As businesses begin feeling the effects of less work due to COVID-19, the owner of the Fox Barber in Mt. Vernon, Todd Burnett, says there has been a disconnect when it comes to determining what’s an essential and a non-essential business.

“I always thought if I were to get shut down it would come from Indiana’s governor or from the federal government, I didn’t expect it to come from the county I work in,” Burnett said. “So who were they to decide what businesses get to choose, and that’s my issue, I don’t have a problem if we are all mandated to close for the betterment of the community, that’s fine, but don’t pick and choose and give no guidance or guidelines.”

Posey County declared a state of emergency on Wednesday – and made a Facebook post from the health department ordering non-essential businesses including salons and barbershops to close – but Burnett says he wasn’t even notified until someone showed him the post.

“If it came from the state, if the governor’s office came through and said all non essentials that would be fine,” he said. 

In Vanderburgh County – the lines are also blurred.

Andrews Bowlds owns a real estate investment firm in Evansville and he says he hasn’t received an official response from the county.

“As far as guidance goes – there hasn’t been a whole lot coming down, and a lot of buyers and sellers don’t want other people in their house so it seemed like maybe at this time we are not essential but i’m hoping that will turn around as people learn more about this and fears subside,” Bowlds said. 

Business owners say they remain hopeful – but wish their government would communicate – before their businesses take an even bigger hit.

“Instead of being so reactive, they need to sit down and plan a little better to fully detail out what their plan is and what they are going to do and make sure everybody that’s part of that decision is all on the same page and communicating that exact same message to all the people,” Burnett said. 

Burnett says until he receives official word, he’ll keep his doors open and the haircuts clipping away.

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(This story was originally published on March 20, 2020)

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