Hillsboro chocolate shop owner closes store due to coronavirus
A chocolate shop owner in Hillsboro says he isn't taking any chances as the novel coronavirus spreads.
Dave Gadlin, the owner of Study of Sweets in Hillsboro, posted on the shop's Facebook page that the retail store would be closed "indefinitely" due to cases of COVID-19 in Washington County. "COVID" is short for "coronavirus disease."
Gadlin cited the health of his staff and elderly customers as reasons for the closure.
"(I'm) playing it by ear and trying to follow the news along with keeping my staff involved in the decision making," he said. "(We're) erring on the side of caution and doing whatever feels right day by day."
Gadlin doesn't know how long the shop will be closed, but he doesn't think it'll be too much of a hit financially. The business predominantly fills wholesale and online orders.
As for his two employees, Gadlin said they're working from home and not using paid sick days for his decision to temporarily close the shop.
"If they were using their sick days, then this would be a problem," said Gadlin, "But (these) are extenuating circumstances. So, I'm just finding work that they'll be able to do from home that will keep us productive … and not have to worry about money while we figure out whatever this is."
He added that about 15% of his regular customers are older than 70. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible that older adults and persons who have underlying chronic medical conditions may be at risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
Oregon's first presumptive case of COVID-19 was announced Friday evening, Feb. 28, in a Washington County resident with ties to the Lake Oswego School District. By Monday morning, March 2, two other cases in Oregon had been reported, including a second case in Washington County.
Neighboring Washington and California are also dealing with a growing number of COVID-19 cases. Washington announced its first deaths connected to the viral disease over the weekend.
There have been no widespread closures to this point in Oregon, although classes were canceled at a Lake Oswego elementary school after it was announced Friday that a staff member at the school has been hospitalized in Hillsboro with COVID-19.
For Gadlin's part, he says he remains optimistic about the future of his shop.
"If you need chocolate desperately, shoot me an email," said Gadlin, referring to customers who regularly go to the shop. "I'm still in the store every day working (and) filling orders. The business goes on, it's just retail and face-to-face contact with the customers is what we're putting on pause for a few days."
When asked what Gadlin thought about others thinking he's reacting too soon to the illness, he said, "The luxury of me owning my own business if that I can do whatever I want, right? … The financial hit isn't coming down on my employees. The financial hit isn't coming down on my customers. It comes down on me."
As for what customers have to say about the temporary closure, they're taking it easy, said Gadlin.
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