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2 St. Louis County business owners talk about supporting new COVID-19 restrictions

"I understand how hard it's going to be for us to make money, but our health is more important so I'm OK with it," said restaurant owner, Cathy Jenkins

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — "It's been quite an up and down situation," said Olivia Ridgel, the owner of C. Oliver Coffee + Flower Bar in Maplewood.

More than a year ago, 30-year-old Ridgel opened her business.

Like so many St. Louis County area small business owners, Ridgel said she's been riding a non-stop rollercoaster in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We were struggling, but what happened people wanted to support Black-owned businesses all across the country and that's what kept us alive," said Ridgel.

She said for six months she had to comply with St. Louis County restrictions and could not offer indoor dining.

"Dine-in really makes a huge difference and so while I support most of the restrictions, I still wish the indoor dining ban could be lifted," said the young entrepreneur.

Ridgel also credited robust curbside sales to helping keep her business afloat.

But, this week when new countywide restrictions took effect?

"Drastically, it just went down," said Ridgel.

The Maplewood business owner said her sales dropped 75%.

While more than 40 restaurant owners have now filed a lawsuit, saying the county executive "hasn't shown any proof that COVID-19 is spreading in restaurants" and that Dr. Sam Page "lacks the legal authority to declare indoor dining illegal," Ridgel supports a majority of the restrictions.

"I want people to feel safe so whether it's me wearing a mask, if I agree with it or not, if it makes other people feel comfortable, I want that. However, I still feel that the indoor ban needs to be lifted. My business cannot survive solely on curbside sales for a long period of time," said Ridgel.

At Cathy's Kitchen in Ferguson?

"Much of the new guidelines that he's been asking us, we've already been doing," said the restaurant's owner, Cathy Jenkins.

Jenkins said several months before business owners had to comply with COVID-19-related county restrictions, she started making deliveries at her north St. Louis County business.

Jenkins said the daily deliveries coupled with curbside pickups have kept her business going during the pandemic.

"Thank God we are doing well and not one employee has gotten sick. I understand how hard it's going to be for us business owners to make money, but our health is more important, so I'm OK with it," Jenkins said.

RELATED: The debate continues over indoor dining as St. Louis region sets COVID-19 records

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