QUEENS, N.Y. - Dilenia Vazquez is looking at a stack of flowers that may soon waste away.
Her Far Rockaway store is in a COVID-19 "red zone," which means non-essential businesses like hers will have to shut their doors again.
She said there has been a lot of confusion among local businesses over exactly when they need to close up shop.
“The instructions seem to be not clear at this point. But we do know one thing — closing the small business is not the solution to the problem,” said Vazquez, the owner of Valencia Flowers.
Vazquez said she is also a distributor for Valencia Bakery, which is in the Bronx. She said while state guidelines allow her to still sell cakes to-go for pick-up, her florist business can only operate with online orders.
“Why can’t we sell flowers? I don’t know. I really don’t know. It’s just senseless. The way it’s being outlined to me doesn’t make any sense,” said Vazquez.
Next door, Eternity Hill had tears in her eyes as she grappled with the idea of closing her beauty salon again.
Hill has two kids under the age of two at home and is already behind on her rent from closing the first time.
“It’s like a little bit of tease. We just worked these things out. We just worked these things out with landlords, with our customers, with everyone. And now we’re forced to shut our stores down,” said Hill, who owns Eternity Rose Hair Studio.
Down the block, Alix Alize wasn’t taking any chances. His storefront was shuttered Thursday afternoon, although the state guideline’s stated businesses had until Friday to close.
He’s stressed about the future.
“That’s our way of living. Without making a living, we cannot pay the bills. And we cannot go on,” said Alize, who owns Alize Barbershop.
All of the store owners we spoke to say they fear customers will just travel into the less restrictive yellow "warning zones" a bit to the west on the Rockaway peninsula and to the east in Nassau County. While the restrictions are supposed to be reexamined in two weeks — the business owners fear two weeks will turn into months again.
“It’s very discouraging. I’m about to slip into a depression,” said Hill.
They are eelings Hill said are being fueled by the fear that another long-term shutdown is around the corner.