For some Maryland businesses, coronavirus is one-two punch

Small businesses are being hit hard financially as they have been forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, but some in Maryland view it as the second half of a one-two punch.

That’s because several businesses in the path of the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have already been negatively affected by construction of the light-rail line.

In February, Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow told WTOP that some businesses in areas near Purple Line construction were already suffering up to 40% revenue losses, before the pandemic hit the U.S.

“It’s like a double hit for us,” said Susan Peterkin, owner of Jaha Hair Studio in Silver Spring.

Peterkin, who has been there for 24 years, has seen her customer base shrink due to the construction activity.

She said she won’t be able to pay her bills if the coronavirus shutdown goes from weeks to months.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” said Peterkin. “It’s devastating, but I’m just going to move forward the best I can.”

And Peterkin is dreading having to be closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Those are the big moneymaking days for her business.

“After this weekend and we realize there’s no money in our accounts — that’s when it’s going to be real,” she said.

The region has seen a jump in coronavirus cases this week alone. Nearly half of Maryland’s confirmed cases are in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. So far, four people have died in the state, all with underlying health conditions.

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