St. Petersburg business owners argue they are essential

Coronavirus

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Frank Craft doesn’t know what the future will hold.

On Wednesday, Pinellas County Commissioners passed a ‘safer at home’ resolution. Businesses that don’t provide essential services are supposed to shut down.

Craft owns Green Bench Flowers in downtown St. Petersburg.

“Most small businesses here are taking precautions… they are grown adults that are being responsible,” said Craft. “My concern is somebody else making decisions of what’s best for me and my business. I have no intention of closing one way or the other.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says the city will follow the county’s lead, for now.

“We’re going to give it a couple of days and see how it works,” said Mayor Kriseman. “But, again, as I said very clearly, I have an order that if I need to enter it, we’ll enter it. “

Kriseman hopes non-essential businesses in the city will elect to close their doors.

“We don’t want you going to a store because, hey, you know maybe this is a good time to buy a new matress or get a picture framed,” Kriseman said.

Jane Rakestraw who owns the Schakolad Chocolate Factory on Central is also watching and waiting for direction.

“I’m carrying on,” said Rakestraw. “Business as normal.”

She believes that her employees would argue her business is essential.

“I’ve got a couple of employees that if they didn’t get a paycheck that they would not be having any electric or water,” said Rakestraw. “Or a roof over their head.”

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