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Snowstorm closes area businesses

BARNESVILLE — Many local businesses opted to keep their doors closed Monday after several inches of snow fell in the Ohio Valley.

While some government offices, libraries and schools were already set to close in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, other business owners chose to also keep their doors closed due to the inclement weather. Some local businesses took to social media to announce they would not open Monday after some areas received 7-10 inches of snowfall between Sunday evening and Monday morning. A Level 2 snow emergency was issued in both Belmont and Monroe counties, which recommends only those who feel it necessary to be out on the roadways should drive.

Susan Lapham, owner of Avenues of Barnesville, said she chose to remain closed Monday to ensure the safety of her staff and customers. She said after speaking with the store’s manager, who received around 10 inches of snow in Barnesville, they decided it would be best to not open the shop.

“We determined yesterday (Sunday) with the snowstorm coming in, it would be best to stay closed. … We figured no one would be shopping. No one’s going to be out today, there’s nothing that they have to have — we’re not a grocery store, so we’re staying closed. Our plan is to open tomorrow (Tuesday) morning if things calm down,” she said.

Lapham said she is hoping to reopen today, but will “play it by ear” to see how the roads are.

Joe Bell, spokesman for the Ohio Valley Mall’s parent company Cafaro, said the mall opened on its regular schedule; however, they were still working to clear the parking lot of snow late Monday morning. Though the mall was open to customers, some retailers may have chosen to remain closed or open on a different schedule than usual.

“Some of the individual merchants may be operating on shortened schedules based on the snowfall and ability to staff the store.

“It’s a little bit hit or miss with some of them, so we’re just advising people if they have a particular store they’d like to visit, to just give them a call first to make sure they’re open,” he said.

Chick-Fil-A, Gabe’s, Barnesville Thrift Store, Home Pizza, Bless Your Heart Folk Art, along with other businesses posted on social media about closing Monday due to the weather.

East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry chose to delay the opening of its COVID-19 testing tent due to weather conditions. The hospital offers drive-through testing Monday through Friday in the front parking lot. The testing center opened at noon Monday instead of its normal opening of 7 a.m.

Ohio University Eastern and the Belmont County NAACP opted to postpone their Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, “Real Justice, Real Freedom,” that was set to take place Monday at the campus in St. Clairsville “due to freezing rain and the predicted weather forecast.” The event will now be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the OUE Theater, according to the school’s Facebook page.

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