ELLENWOOD, Ga. - Georgia's shelter in place order is lifted, but many people are still working from home. A local businessman says it's having a devastating impact on the dry cleaning industry.
Muhammad Tariq owns Snow Cleaners in Ellenwood. With dry cleaners categorized as essential workers, Tariq has remained open during the pandemic.
Tariq told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "I have never seen it like this. I pray that we will never get to go through this again ever in the future. This is something which has impacted us really really bad. "
He handled about 500 pieces a day before the coronavirus outbreak, now he's only taking in about 50 items daily because most of his clients haven't returned.
"I've sent them text messages, I've called them, sent emails. The only answers that I get is they're working from home, they don't have no work clothes, they're in their jeans, pajamas, their shorts. They're working from home," he said.
Tariq's family owns 13 dry cleaners across metro Atlanta and employ 50 workers. They've been in the dry cleaning business over 20 years.
He says he survived a drop in business during the 2008 recession, but worries this could put him out of business. He's been paying workers out of his own pocket.
"If this situation runs the same way where we don't have customers walking in the building, I don't think we can survive more than three months with all this", said Tariq.
Tariq knows some dry cleaners in the metro area who chose to close temporarily during the shelter in place order and now can't afford to reopen. Others have reduced their hours. Tariq is still open six days a week, struggling to keep his business going, and says your local dry cleaner needs your support now more than ever.
"If you have something you can afford support your local businesses, support your dry cleaners," he told FOX 5. "One or two pieces will make it big for the dry cleaners, and try to help everybody out so we can get through this all together."