Heather Felty smiles as customers walk through the doors of her business, Court Street Coffee Shop, on Saturday morning.
News of the novel coronavirus spread is keeping people from some of the local businesses, Felty said. But she’s keeping her doors open, for now.
“On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we were busier than we had been any other time of the year,” she said. “Then as soon as the announcement came on Wednesday, we had less people Thursday and Friday.”
No cases of confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 have been reported in Guadalupe County as of yet, however, businesses like Felty’s are taking necessary precautions to limit the number of potential cases there are.
In Court Street Coffee Shop, Felty is limiting the products that customers can touch to those they’ve purchased.
“We have moved everything from self serve, we got rid of our grab-n-go refrigerator, we’ve pushed everything back so people don’t touch stuff,” she said. “We took all of the coffee pots into the back. We clean everything anyway but this is extra precaution.”
The shop owner prides herself on being green, however, during this time, she’s using disposable products to serve her customers.
“We have no choice but to do this,” she said. “It is for the safety of this community. This virus is impacting those with low immunity and autoimmune disease, people who have compromised immune systems, and we have to help protect them.”
Felty said she’s really starting to see the affects in product availability. When taking her routine 6 a.m. trip to H-E-B to gather necessities for her business, Felty was met with a crowd of people and nothing on the shelves.
“When I went into H-E-B at 6 o’clock this morning there was no milk, there was no bread, there wasn’t anything,” she said. “My concern is people don’t have food, so they’re coming here to get food. And if that keeps up, I might not be able to serve them. When we don’t have food, then I have to close the door.”
If things continue this direction, Felty said changes will be made.
“It’s not going to be the demise of the shop, but we’re probably going to have to totally change our business model,” she said. “It’s going to be different, it is going to impact everything.”
The business owner is also concerned for her staff, some of which have families, as well as her fellow business owners in downtown Seguin.
“We’re just at the brink of building up downtown, and that’s what worries me, more than anything,” she said. “I’m in a situation to where I don’t pay myself, so it is OK, I work another job. But I have staff I have to support and they all have families. My concern is also for the people who this is their sole income as a business owner. It is not just me, it’s the lives of all my folks and the town.”
As products are flying off the shelves in the stores, and people are having a difficult time finding the items they need, Felty said she’s found they tend to help themselves to the stuff she’s got in the cafe.
“People are stealing our paper towels, they’re stealing our Clorox wipes that we use to sanitize that we use on top of sanitizer,” she said. “People are just panicking. I get the seriousness of the virus and the contagion factor, what I don’t get is the every man for himself and not thinking of others.”
However, Felty said all of her customers are understand of the changes.
“We’ll adjust, we’ll make it work,” she said. “The customers have been awesome and showing their support.”