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Roads clear as Patients First COVID-19 testing moves to appointment-only

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 8:45 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Congestion along Mahan Drive cleared Tuesday after several days of traffic jams.

Since last week, cars have been lined up on Mahan Drive and Magnolia Drive as people waited in line for the Patients First COVID-19 drive-thru testing. The lines blocked traffic in one lane of each road while they waited.

On Tuesday, the testing site moved to appointment-only. The move comes one day after nearly 50 businesses in the area signed a petition to have the testing location moved.

Niki Gandy, one of the owners of Epic Print Concepts, says the traffic took its toll on the business as drivers blocked driveways around Mahan.

"It's been pretty big, we've had people coming to pick stuff up that can't get in," Gandy said. "We don't know if we've missed deliveries because the delivery guys can't get in."

Gandy added that it was frustrating not getting help keeping cars from parking in driveways.

John Flowers owns G. Willies Uniforms, also on Mahan Drive, along with his wife and son; they own several businesses in the area.

He says they were losing several thousands of dollars per day because of the traffic.

"They would just drive right on by," Flowers said. "They would honk, they would call and complain, they would try and pick up orders and they couldn't."

On Monday, the Flowers started a petition to get the testing site moved. While the site did not move, the traffic is gone and many owners say it’s the resolution they were hoping for.

Scott Flowers, owner of Scott Flowers Consulting Group, says he still wants the community to continue getting tested for COVID-19, he doesn’t want it to be at the expense of businesses.

“Between 9:00 and 9:30, all the cars were gone. They’ve gone to appointment only, and it’s been nothing but praise today. The businesses are happy to be back to normal,” Flowers said. “We want people in Tallahassee, especially at the bars and restaurants to be able to isolate their staff. People want to return to work, they want to get that rapid result, which is the unique thing about this location. We want those people to be able to get back to work, but not at the expense of all these other businesses.”

The store owners say they are already noticing businesses pick back up since the roads opened.

Officials with Patients First say the decision to move to appointment-only testing was not in regards to the petition, rather to “streamline the waiting process more efficiently.” Officials say no other testing location has been determined at this time.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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