'We've had no customers': Coronavirus impacting small business in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Coronavirus fears are keeping shoppers away, if you ask Mary John the owner of BJ Variety store.

"We've been affected so bad, we've had no customers. It looked like a ghost town today. Everybody's so scared with that virus," says John.

Mary John and her husband closed the BJ variety store early on Wednesday. They worry if they get sick, the business will tank.

Rent comes like clockwork for the couple who's owned the shop on the 1700 block of Chestnut Street for 25 years. And it's $8,000 a month.

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"We won't have any food on our table if we don't work every day," says John.

Paul Psihogios owns the Olympia II pizza shop on South Street with his parents. They've been here since 1986. If illness numbers rise or they have to close, then come the concerns.

"I've got a family, mortgage, insurance, the whole deal. It would definitely affect my wife and I, and the family," says Psihogios.

Anthony Lewis works at Reading Terminal Market which has a plan if coronavirus containment becomes more stringent.

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"When SEPTA stops running, that's when the terminal shuts down. So hopefully it don't mess up our business," says Lewis.

Melissa Scott-Walker works in IT for the City of Philadelphia. She says, "We won't stop working. We'll be working through everything because we have work from home capabilities. But the rest of the city, I'm not quite sure. We'll just have to wait and see what the mayor says."

Right now, officials are reminding residents to stay away from large events with 5,000 or more people, practice safe hygiene, and remain home if you are sick.
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