THOMASVILLE — In the wake of the COVID-19 health scare, all downtown Thomasville businesses are open to some degree.
"No businesses in the downtown have had a permanent closure," said April Norton, City of Thomasville director of economic and community development.
Norton said the Downtown Business Park District has more than 300 businesses.
"There are approximately 120 retail and restaurants, and the remainder are professional offices, churches or schools," Norton said.
Downtown Thomasville continued to be open for business by incorporating creative ways to serve customers during the virus situation, she said.
“Downtown Thomasville has proven to be resilient through this time with no businesses having permanent closure within the Downtown Business Park District," Norton said. "The Thomasville community has always come together in support of each other and in support of our locally-owned small businesses, and these circumstances have proven no different."
Although downtown Thomasville continued to be open for business, some forms of operations changed throughout the virus-related challenge.
"As business restrictions continue to ease, our downtown businesses continue to use a measured approach to reopening," Norton said.
While some businesses have opened to the public, others have chosen to continue to operate by appointment, through online sales or curbside pickup.
The economic impact has been visible downtown, with an average of a 70 percent loss in business in March and April. Norton said the economic impact here is comparable to that experienced statewide.
"However," she said, "our small businesses have remained resilient. Our small businesses are important to our local economy and many measures have been taken to ensure they have the support of our city and our community to weather the crisis and reach recovery."
May and June have been an economic boost to small businesses in the recovery phase — "reactivating our downtown streets,” Norton said.
“For a strong recovery, the continued support of our small businesses is critical," she said. "A continued effort in providing safety measures within our businesses and along the streets will be key to a recovery that is lasting. As a city, partnered with our downtown merchants, we are taking many measures to ensure the safety of our shoppers and diners and will continue to take a measured approach to maintaining an open downtown."
It is important to work with downtown's small businesses to establish long-term practices, not only for reopening, Norton said.
"Our businesses are operating from stronger business models today than before, proving resiliency that is lasting as we continue to face recovery," she said.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820