Pandemic closes 300+ businesses, as some open up shop in Harrisonburg

About 280 Harrisonburg businesses closed in 2020 and so far 40 businesses have closed this year.
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -Many businesses across the country have faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Parks, Director of Communications for the City of Harrisonburg, said quite a few businesses in the Friendly City have closed their doors during the pandemic.

“What we’ve seen so far is we know that we’ve had about 280 businesses that closed in 2020 and we’ve seen about 40 businesses close this year,” Parks said.

The city currently has 3,650 active business accounts.

Parks added that there are also more than 500 businesses that have not done anything yet with their license.

“We’re in the process of trying to find out are those people who have closed their business in the past year? Are those people maybe that are having a hard time paying their business license fee, or maybe we just haven’t heard from them yet?” Parks said.

It is unclear what the exact reason was for all of the closures, but Parks said that in speaking to some business owners, it remains a challenging time.

He said the hope is that with more vaccines rolling out, businesses may return to the way they were before the pandemic.

“We hope that things will return to normal and people can go about some of the businesses practices they were used to in the past,” Parks said.

While many businesses closed their doors during the pandemic, some businesses are just now getting their start.

Jose Reyes is the owner of Tequila Taco Bar in Harrisonburg which has yet to open.

Reyes said he was looking to open his restaurant in a college town and family brought him to Harrisonburg.

“Everything just kind of came together like it was meant to be,” Reyes said.

But, he said he has seen how the pandemic has been tough for many.

“My family has businesses and I saw the difference. We had to adapt to everything. We had to come up with new strategies to run a business. A lot of people unfortunately closed down their restaurants because of this pandemic,” Reyes said.

The pandemic also impacted his restaurant.

“Mainly, the challenges that we really ran into is a lot of our stuff that we have like our glassware, our decorations and stuff, everything came from Mexico so even with the pandemic going on the border is kind of slower, customs and everything,” Reyes said.

Reyes said they are hoping to have the place open in the next month or so.

Any business that is struggling or any entrepreneur hoping to open a business in Harrisonburg is encouraged to contact Harrisonburg Economic Development.

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