SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For months, many Savannah business owners have been requiring mask in their storefronts. WSAV spoke with a local boutique owner who said making masks mandatory meant the pandemic wasn’t the only thing impacting business.
“Basically we went from our busiest time of year, which was just kicking in, to absolutely nothing.”
Lisa Bolak, the owner of four Savannah boutiques, said all businesses have been grappling with the economic impact from being shutdown for months due to COVID-19. Like many other local stores, 98 percent of her revenue is generated by tourists. Bolak said when Savannah Mayor Van Johnson issued a mask mandate, they did not hesitate to take a stand.
“We saw a very big drop, but we decided that the importance of wearing a mask far outweighs the loss of business because we really want to keep our employees safe, our customers safe, and after doing all of the research we decided it was so important,” Bolak explained.
The store owner said other businesses are also experiencing backlash from requiring masks to be worn in their stores, even if they are willing to supply masks for people who don’t have one.
“If you come in here and don’t have a face mask we will give you one. I know several other business owners are dealing with the same thing that we are; they’re being unfairly targeted on social media and they’ll get one-star reviews.”
Community support helped Bolak mitigate people who were posting negative reviews and comments, but she said no business should be a victim of cyber bullying for trying to keep people safe.
“As a community we all need to come together. We need to stand united. We are a United States we really need to start acting like it,” Bolak stated.