Roanoke residents, business owners react to latest COVID-19 restrictions


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Ralph Northam’s newest COVID-19 guidelines announced Thursday garnered mixed reactions. When it comes to Roanoke residents, most of them agree.

“I think it’s necessary,” Edward Jefferson said.

“This feels like, probably, a better idea,” said Swade Best.

For community safety, residents say Northam’s latest restrictions are needed.

“If everyone would just stay home, this would have been dealt with a long time ago,” said Best. “But you have people, my age especially, who are like, ‘no I want to drink beers with my buddies.’ You can’t. It’s not safe. It’s not a good idea.”

Jefferson says it’s time for people to take the virus seriously.

“You have to listen and pay attention because this is no joke. You have to really, really pay attention and if you want to protect yourself and family members, listen to what they say. Do what they ask you to do,” Jefferson said.

On the other hand, Roanoke restaurant owners are fearful the new restrictions will limit their business even more.

Bond Nasongkhla owns Thai Continental. He vividly remembers when the virus first affected his restaurant back in March.

“From the early, of this year, we had affect. For the first time peoples scary for the COVID,” said Nasongkhla.

Nasongkhla believes the guidelines are better suited for cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.

“It’s good for the big city. Not Roanoke. If you know the city, Roanoke. Roanoke is a quiet town,” Nasongkhla said.

Across the street from the restaurant, Antonio Rojas is experiencing similar struggles.

“This year, it’s hard to stay open on business because of the pandemic,” said Rojas, owner of Tacos Rojas.

With limited customers and strict business hours, he says all he can think about is his employees and keeping his doors open.

“The employees are more important because, the employees, they have a family and the bills – they don’t stop. They’re coming and coming,” Rojas said.

Northam’s latest announcement comes after the Virginia Department of Health reported 4,398 new cases on Wednesday, Dec. 9 — a record high for daily cases — followed by the second-highest single-day case increase of 3,915 new cases on Thursday, Dec. 10.

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