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Businesses outside Barksdale AFB react to word of possible cases on base, public health emergency


BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A few businesses along Highway 71 say they’ve been impacted by Barksdale Air Force Base declaring a public health emergency after possible coronavirus cases were identified on base.

RELATED: Barksdale declares public health emergency after identifying possible cases on base

Right across the street from the base is Limitz Barbershop, where Donovan Basile is a barber and says that a few airmen are his clients. He understands they can’t disclose certain information for the sake of security.

“They can’t tell us, ya know? They can’t talk about what goes on. I’m pretty sure some of them know more than what they will tell us, but they can’t,” said Basile.

The shop is still open and he encourages everybody who stops by to wash their hands at their sink. There’s hand sanitizer at every station for barbers and clients too. He also says it’s hard to determine if business will decrease, since they’re slower during weekdays and get most of their sales on the weekends, but he’s remaining optimistic.

In close proximity to the base is Superior Spa Nails. Kim Lee’s been a nail technician there for seven years and says there was a 40-50% decrease in clients coming for services on Tuesday. Since news of the coronavirus broke, she estimates there has been a 90% decrease overall.

She worries whether they would have to close for two weeks or more for the sake of protecting the community.

“With our jobs, we still have to wear masks, and gloves and sanitize individual customers. We do it every day, but since this happened, we do it more regularly,” said Lee.

“But we have to do something to protect our community you know? Money is not everything. We have to survive. So I don’t want to pass it around for everybody.”

Haleigh Johnson is the shift manager at Boba Xpress right next door to the salon. A sign outside the restaurant reads:

Dear Boba Xpress Customers,

We are currently monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and are taking precautions in order to prevent the spread. In order to protect both you and us we are strongly suggesting the use of Apple and Google Pay to keep contact less transactional. We are practicing social distancing at this time, and are making sure to keep all surfaces and tools properly disinfected.

Thank you and stay safe!

You can find Johnson and other employees inside the restaurant with chairs lined up against the wall. Customers are not allowed to sit and mingle in the building. They are encouraging online orders.

“There’s only 10 people allowed inside at one time. I’m making sure that all of our counter spaces and all of our dishes, anything that is frequently touched by us or the customers, are disinfected,” said Johnson.

She says most of the traffic for business comes from the weekend, but right now with everything going on they’re also seeing a decrease in sales.

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