Open Up Or Remain Closed? W.Va. Small Businesses Discuss Their Decision As Restrictions Ease


Monday marked the first day some businesses across the state could begin to reopen after weeks of being closed because of the coronavirus. But some say they don’t feel ready to open their doors. We explore the tough decisions facing the state’s small businesses.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on the economy, and especially small businesses. Now states across the country, including West Virginia, are slowly beginning to reopen. While some business owners are eager to open, others are still reluctant. We begin by hearing from two business owners based in southern West Virginia about how they’re approaching this process. Our Southern Coalfields reporter Caitlin Tan produced this piece.

Kin Ship Goods, a cozy, quirky apparel and home goods store located in Charleston, was among the first to close its doors as the coronavirus threat emerged. Now they’re allowed to reopen, but owners Dan Davis and Hillary Harrison are electing to keep their storefront closed. Health reporter Kara Lofton spoke with Harrison about that decision and what it would take for them to open the doors again. This piece was produced by Zander Aloi.

And finally, we visit the Northern Panhandle. Wheeling-based restaurant Later Alligator has decided to continue only serving carryout and delivery, despite being allowed to use outdoor seating. Spokesman Mitchell Haddad said he has some concerns about reopening, especially given the restaurant’s close proximity to neighboring states. This piece was produced by Corey Knollinger.

Last fall, Murray Energy, the largest privately-owned coal company in America with a large presence in Appalachia, joined many of its peers in declaring bankruptcy. Murray faced mounting debt and a struggling coal market. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, tanking the global economy including energy markets. S&P Global Market Intelligence senior reporter Taylor Kuykendall has been following the bankruptcy case closely. He spoke with reporter Brittany Patterson about the latest updates.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

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