Md. business owner hopes for success with arrival of Phase 1 opening, long weekend

Linda Dyal, left, talks with Maria Boeri, owner of Savona Deli on Main Street in Bel Air, Md., Friday, May 15, 2020. Dyal, a customer at the deli for many years, said she was very happy Boeri finally is allowed to reopen her business after shutting down fro more than a month because of the coronavirus outbreak. Beginning Friday evening, small business and retailers will be allowed to reopen with some guidelines after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifts a stay-at-home oder. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)(AP/Julio Cortez)
Small business owner Michael Douglas Jones recalls the agonizing wait on Maryland’s unemployment benefits site the first time he used it.

“I think it was two-and-a-half hours, maybe three hours,” he remembered.

But the last time he checked in, Jones said it was drastically different. “It was four minutes — tops.”

Now, with Maryland’s Phase 1 recovery plan in effect, and a three day weekend that in a normal year would kick off summer travel, the Frederick gallery owner is cautiously optimistic about the forward movement the state seems to be making.

While he has to limit the number of people who can visit Gallery 322, his business in downtown Frederick, he says the small business community has banded together to help one another through the challenging times.

For example, said Jones, McClintock Distilling Company has shared hand sanitizer with local small business owners.

And the operators of Custom Imprints, a company that produces shirts, banners and uniforms, has taken to making and distributing masks.

“One of the things about Frederick — especially downtown Frederick — is the camaraderie of all the businesses,” said Jones.

Asked if he was worried that potential customers might resent having to wear masks, or wait for services, he said, “I was downtown every day last week, and people get it. Most people get it,” explaining that people make the effort to stay six feet apart and wear masks as a courtesy — and protection — for those around them.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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