Don’t Panic. Prepare
COVID-19 and its Impact on Our Business – Greenville Martial Art Center
Written by: Katrina Phillips and Chris Key, Owners, Greenville Martial Art Center
March 15, 2020
Greenville Martial Art Center appreciates the outpouring of love and support from our clients, family,
friends, and community. We thought last year was the most challenging of our lives with the ever-delayed school construction, but boy were we not prepared for 2020! A pandemic was certainly not
even on our radar a possible thing to happen. The beginning of 2020 brought the severe flooding right
after the Grand Opening. However, we have persevered. We are strong. We are also realistic and are
rapidly gearing up to prepare for the wave of novel COVID-19 headed our way.
What is novel COVID-19?
Novel COVID-19 is a new coronavirus strain that was first found in China and rapidly moved to the global
arena. There are currently (March 13) around 145,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide. This will
absolutely skyrocket in the coming days and weeks as testing becomes more prevalent both here in the
US and elsewhere.
Given the threat the virus represents, we urge everybody to take this seriously. It is spreading
extraordinarily fast, especially in areas that aren’t properly testing and preparing. For reference, on
February 20 Italy had four cases. Three weeks later, the country has completely closed its borders, the
country is in lockdown, and there have been around 17,000 cases and 1,250 deaths. And make no
mistake, it is not “just like the flu”. Humans have no immunity to this virus, there is no vaccine and
current estimates are that it will take more than a year before one is commercially available. While
some of the symptoms are similar, the flu has a fatality rate of around .1%. As of yet, the Coronavirus
has killed less people than this years’ flu, it has between a 1% and 4% fatality rate, depending on how
well the country manages the infection. Various experts have projected 80-150 million Americans could
become infected. Our actions now will determine whether we are closer to the 1% or 4% rates.
One of the most dangerous aspects of this virus is that symptoms may not manifest until the patient
has already been contagious for quite a long time. Further, labs have found that the virus can live on an
infected surface for days. This, along with its highly contagious nature, will cause rapid spread like
wildfire in the communities. Likely everyone will seem to get sick all at once. This could be days or
weeks from now. It is up to us as both as a local community and on a national level to “smooth out” the
bell curve of the disease spread so that health officials are not so overwhelmed that people begin dying
due to lack of medical equipment in addition to those who will die from general disease severity.
On March 11, 2020, it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. On March 13,
President Trump declared a National State of Emergency and Governor McMaster declared a State of
Emergency for South Carolina. Nearly every major sporting event has been cancelled or postponed, as
have most large gatherings of people including concerts and other live shows.
Who is at risk?
Vulnerable populations hit hardest by this disease include seniors as well as those that are
immunocompromised. However, everyone is at risk of catching the disease. Persons who have had
contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are at risk, along with healthcare workers
caring for patients with COVID-19, and travelers who are returning from areas affected and who have
therefore had a greater risk of exposure. More specifically, who is at a risk for the most severe impact of
the virus? That would be your elderly population, persons with underlying or chronic conditions (for
example, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lung Disease), and the very young.
Ok, so not me, the average healthy person?
Not so fast. Although you are less likely to have severe symptoms, you have a moral and ethical
obligation to support and protect your community. Think of all your elderly family, children who are
newborns, kids, and adults with chronic and underlying illnesses. They deserve a fighting chance to
survive this and it is YOUR responsibility as a member of this community to do your part in making that
That Sounds Reasonable. What are the Symptoms?
COVID-19 has a relatively short list of symptoms. This includes: fever, cough, and shortness of breath 2-
14 days after exposure. Emergency signs for COVID-19 which require immediate medical intervention
include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new
confusion or inability to arouse, and/or bluish lips or face. When in doubt, Call 911 immediately.
How do I avoid contact and viral spread?
Stay away from others. The virus is spread mainly from person to person contact (within 6 feet) through
respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are most contagious
when they have no obvious symptoms. Public distancing is the act of staying at least 3 feet away from
every other person. Of course, when you have children this is next to impossible to do. This is where
hygiene comes in to play. Now is the time to brush off those super proper hygiene practices you learned
(and promptly forgot) back in grade school and WASH YOUR HANDS. In fact, you should wash your
hands (for 20 seconds) like you just chopped a jalapeno and now you have to put in a contact lens.
There are several little jingles you can sing to ensure you reach the 20 second mark.
Check out: https://washyourlyrics.com/ to create your own hand washing song sheet set to your
favorite song! We have attached our favorite one ‘Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas’ to the end of this
In addition to hand washing (Did I mention hand washing yet?), you should avoid sharing personal
household items, clean ‘high-touch’ surfaces daily, stay at home as much as possible, avoid large
gatherings of people, and keep close monitor on your symptoms.
What is Greenville Martial Art Center doing to stop the spread?
We have ramped up our standard sanitization procedure to include rigorous daily sanitization of every
‘high-touch’ surface in the school. We have also begun screening students as they arrive for reports of
fever and cough. These students will be kept in the secondary after school room in isolation until their
parents arrive to pick them up. We ask that students presenting with COVID-19 symptoms above not
return to our program until they are cleared by their Doctor of the virus, including requested self-
quarantining. We have to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus to protect our own
vulnerable population and our community at large. We have vulnerable children and adults in our
school. We will do what we must to protect them, including refusing service to students who show signs
of this illness. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.
How will this affect Greenville Martial Art Center?
As a small business, our client base is our most valuable asset. We recognize and are prepared as much
as we can be for the severe wave of illness we believe is imminent. With that being said, GMAC has
employed some strategies that will hopefully help us remain open as long as possible. If/When
Greenville County Schools shut down, we plan to remain open until/unless we are either ordered to shut
down OR no longer have enough staff to safely manage the number of children in our care. We will have
to make these decisions on a day by day basis. We have a number of parents who are in the medical
field or are first responders and this decision was made strongly with them in mind. We have decided
that when it becomes necessary, we will remain at the school for as long as necessary to keep the
business open as long as possible. If we are ordered to close at the state or federal level or we have no
staff left that are well enough to stay at the school, we will unfortunately have to close for a (hopefully)
short period of time. Please know that at the end of the day we are going to go above and beyond and
then some to keep our school open and available for the families who do not have the option to work
from home in the interim.
What if you do close?
In the unfortunate event that we do close we will be at the mercy of our beloved GMAC family. We do
not take it lightly that you all have stuck with us this past year and a half through our MAJOR transition.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. In 2020 alone, we have overcome final construction
delays, flooding, bus maintenance issues, and now a pandemic. We would like to be completely
transparent to you all and say that we have put all of our business savings into the construction of our
new facility. It never occurred to us that a pandemic would come through and potentially wipe out our
facility for an extended period of time. We do plan to keep regular tuition billing because we, as a small
family owned business, depend on it to survive. Again, we are doing everything we can and then some
to ensure you have a safe place for your children to go during this global crisis.
Could this cause your business to close?
We really hope not. It all depends on the support from our clients. We hope that you will stick with us
through this and come out on the other side of it ready to share our new school in victory that it is
finally completed and open! Again, we thank you all for your love and support. We would not be here
without you all.
What do I need to do right now?
Don’t panic. Prepare. There is no need to stock up on 6 years worth of toilet paper. Panicking will only
make things exponentially worse. The general recommendation is to stock up on 2-4 weeks of general
groceries. Keep in mind, fresh fruits and vegetables will not stay good that long. There are many
websites dedicated to frugal meal prep. For us, we thought of kid-friendly meals that were cheap and
easy to make. This list includes: spaghetti, breakfast for dinner, waffles, deli meat and cheese
sandwiches, pot roasts, pork chops, mashed potatoes (dry box version), rice, canned veggies, hamburger
helper, french toast, frozen pizza, and many more quick and easy to make meals. Admittedly, this isn’t
the healthiest mix, but we did say it was the child friendly version. Meal plans can easily be found in any
budget or dietary restriction range through google search or Pinterest.
A healthy alternative for adults would be a Whole30 meal prep or a food service such as CleanEatz
market (on Pelham Road). You can select single serve entrees and freeze them. These have been a
healthy staple in our on-the-go household for quite a while now.
Other supplies would be whatever you are out of and don’t already have a stockpile of that you may
need in the next two weeks. This includes cleaning and sanitization supplies, paper towels, toilet paper
(you don’t need THAT much), propane tank for the grill, pet food and supplies, general medication that
you would buy for flu-like symptoms, and other basic first aide supplies. The goal is to be prepared, but
not go over the top. You will not likely lose power or water during this time, so this is not quite the same
as preparing for a hurricane.
We do suggest splurging on some entertainment, if it is financially feasible. Go ahead and subscribe to
that streaming service or buy those board games. Being stuck in your house with your family for an
extended period of time is enough to drive anyone a little stir crazy.
Where do I get tested if I think I have COVID-19?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19, you should immediately call your main healthcare provider or
visit your nearest emergency room. If your symptoms are severe, you may need to call 911 for
immediate assistance. As I am not a medical professional, none of the opinions stated in this article
should be taken for medical, legal, or other official advice.
Prisma Health is offering online free COVID-19 screenings via their virtual visit forum.
If you have read this entire article we applaud and appreciate you. We hope that this helps you get a
plan together and know where we as a business stand on this pandemic. The facts of this article were up
to date as of publishing, March 13, 2020, but every hour brings new updates and recommendations by
leading health organizations. We are ready to move forward and help our community to the best of our
ability and we again thank you for your continued support.
Along with the CDC and WHO sites listed in the source guide, we recommend the following website
which is updated frequently and has an incredible amount of information.
Links and Sources
The views and suggestions within this article are not a reflection of Greenville Martial Art Center or Key
Enterprises, LLC. These statements are the opinions of the authors and are not intended to be used as
medical, legal, or financial advice. Everyone should adapt their actions to their own unique needs and
situation before acting on any decisions derived after reading this article.