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'Never had anything like this': Macon antique shop one of many stores open for business throughout pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor reports a decline in applications for unemployment for the 10th week in a row.

MACON, Ga. — The latest figures from the United States Department of Labor show there is a decline in applications for unemployment for the tenth straight week. Applications for aid peaked in mid March at a 14.7 percent unemployment rate. That rate dropped to 13.3 percent.

The total number of people who are receiving unemployment fell slightly. It's a sign that some people who were laid off when restaurants, retail chains, and other small businesses closed are back at work.

With more people working, 13WMAZ is taking a look at a few places that are open for business. Sabrina Burse spoke to a Macon business owner about what reopening has looked like.

Payne Mill Village Antique Mall owner Billy Bagwell said he's glad his stores are among the many that have reopened for business. His roughly 30,000 square-foot antique business closed for about a month because of the pandemic.

"Anytime you close down a business, the bills keep coming and you don't have money coming in, it's not a good thing," said Bagwell. 

He said he was grateful to bring his employees back. They are enforcing social distancing rules and sanitizing the store regularly.

"It means a lot for the community and my customers seeing that tax dollars are starting to roll in again. In my lifetime, we've never had anything like this," said Bagwell.  

Bagwell said business has picked up since opening his doors because of social media and word of mouth.

"People, I think they were wanting to get out, had cabin fever, and they had stimulus money and money in their pocket, and it's been a real good, real good time," said Bagwell. 

Bagwell says he has some sales going on to attract more customers. He's planning a community event to celebrate the store's reopening. 

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