Local businesses continue to struggle after COVID-19 threat

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Whispering Vine has been a Northern Nevada staple for more than two decades. But right now this popular wine retailer and restaurant looks and sounds like a ghost town.

"(The outbreak is) not something you really can prepare for," said operations manager Shannin Waldaias.

The threat of COVID-19 is to blame for lack of business. The Northwest Reno location only has a handful of staff members working because the rest have been laid off.

"I was terrified for our staff. I wanted to cry. A lot of people were very very sad," Waldaias remembered.

Wine Manager Brian Lalor also felt badly for the employees.

"We care about these people so we're hoping that they all come back and that (this pandemic) is short lived."

We are now a few days into Governor Steve Sisolak's order to keep social gatherings to less than ten people. Without the steady flow of customers members at Whispering Vine wonder if they'll be able to stay afloat.

"It's all very new to us so we're just trying to wrap our minds behind what's going to happen in the next few days," Lalor said.

Whispering Vine has not closed its doors to its customers. From 11 am to 7 pm you can pick up wine. From 4 pm to 7 pm you can order food. It's a move Lalor said is not only essential to bringing in money, but to show members of the community they're there for them.

"We just wanted to offer customers who don't want to go shopping, don't want to stay at home and want to get a quick bite to eat that option,. Just make everything feel a little more normal."

One of the best things customers can do right now for local businesses is buy gift cards. The money up front can help your favorite places stay open before they serve you later.

Waldaias said "everybody is trying their best to go out and spend money at a social distance and support each other."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019