South Carolina small business owners reopen, say government assistance was “misleading”

Tuesday was the first full day many businesses in South Carolina were allowed to reopen. Non-essential businesses were asked to close about two weeks ago by Governor Henry McMaster because of COVID-19.

FOX 46 stopped by Baxter Village in Fort Mill where we found a few small businesses still closed despite being allowed to reopen.

The owner of Fort Mill Flowers and Gifts opened Tuesday morning for the first time in two weeks.

“Flowers always seem to brighten up what you’re going through at the moment. It makes you happy. We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls and thank you for much to our dear customers that we serve,” said owner Cheri Noonan.

The doors may be open, but no one is allowed inside the store. Noonan is still taking precautions because of COVID-19.

“There are some staff members that will not work until this is all over and I understand that, so we are just going with what we have here and the amount of orders we can take to help pay our bills,” said Noonan.

Orders are taken over the phone and delivered to homes or customers waiting in the parking lot.

“With a lot of small businesses we know it’s very hard to survive right now. We kind of need to be open right now to keep our head above water and pay our bills,” said Noonan.

The hope when the small flower shop closed was to get some help from the government through a small business loan, but many businesses, including Fort Mill Flowers and Gifts, never heard back after applying.

Business owners like Noonan were frustrated to learn that some of those small business loans went to chain restaurants.

“I think that was a little bit misleading. I think a lot of small business owners would agree with me on that,” said Noonan.

Businesses that are back open in South Carolina must follow social distancing rules and only allow a certain number of customer inside at a time.

Governor McMaster has not allowed gyms, salons and spas to reopen at this time.