North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has started to reopen the state in phases while essential businesses across Greenville have remained open, keeping some employees working, while many businesses have been temporarily shut down.
Phase 1 allowed retail business to open at 50% capacity while restaurants continued to operate via drive-thru, take out and delivery, according to Cooper in the press release.
East Carolina University alumna Elizabeth Merriam said she currently works at Walgreens Pharmacy as a pharmaceutical technician. She said business inside the store has slowed, but the pharmacy’s drive-thru has remained steady.
“Drive-thru is definitely preferred for people picking up prescriptions. Our drive-thru is a lot busier now rather than coming inside which we prefer a lot more to limit exposure for both them and us,” Merriam said.
To help encourage business, Walgreens has provided an extensive list of items available throughout the store that can now be sold through the drive-thru, according to Merriam. She said customers can call ahead to order items via drive-thru pick up.
Merriam said she has also received calls asking about onsite COVID-19 testing but that it is not something offered by Walgreens at this time. Masks and gloves are distributed to Walgreens employees and include people wearing fun-patterned reusable masks, according to Merriam.
Junior business administration major Jason Gilmore, who attends Pitt Community College, works in the food industry at Parker's BBQ. Gilmore said he started working the week the restaurant dine-in closed in North Carolina. He said he has since moved up to cashier and food runner to help support takeout and drive-thru orders.
“No one can sit down and eat, so there’s not as much foot traffic coming in and out, but during lunch rush there’s a good amount of construction workers, utility workers and electricians,” Gilmore said.
Parker's BBQ is offering pick-up through the drive-thru for call in orders at this time alongside in store pick-up, according to Gilmore. Gilmore said business has remained consistent with an influx of the family four pack deal orders which offer various entrees and sides.
ECU junior psychology major Jhovani Tellez said he is fortunate to have a job during the coronavirus pandemic through Brown & Wood Buick GMC. Tellez said he works as a product knowledge specialist, providing customers with setting up OnStar and overall technology support in vehicles.
Car sales have slowed down, Tellez said, but there has been an increase of essential workers coming in. He said employees are provided masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and encouraged to maintain the six feet rule while working. Work has been delegated with employees due to the decrease in car sales, according to Tellez.
“We’re working more hours since COVID-19 started. Normally when we sell a lot of cars we have to fix the lot up, when we sell less cars we’re doing more detail work around the dealership,” Tellez said.
ECU senior communication major Zachary Dix said his job through Briley’s Farm Market is offering produce box pick-up in lieu of the traditional summertime produce stand. Briley’s offers a weekly produce box with arranged pick-up times on weekends, according to Dix.
At the time of publication, it is Briley’s fourth week doing produce box pick ups and each week a slew of fruits and vegetables are offered, according to Dix. He said the normal produce stand runs from Memorial day weekend until around the end of August.
“Right now it switches up but we’ve got lettuce, strawberries, onions…there’s usually nine to 10 items and the box varies each week you definitely get enough,” Dix said.
Briley’s farm offers a pumpkin patch along with corn mazes during the month of October, according to Dix. Dix said there has been no word yet if the coronavirus pandemic will hinder the opening to Briley’s fall festivities in October.
Phase 2 of reopening North Carolina will come two to three weeks after phase 1 opened on May 8, according to Cooper in a press release. Cooper said phase 2 will allow the opening of bars, fitness centers and personal care services. For more information on phase 2 go to www.governor.nc.gov.