SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — With sweeping new shelter-in-place orders in effect to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the Bay Area, many may be wondering exactly which “essential businesses” are remaining open.

The Marco Polo Laundromat on South Bascom in San Jose is keeping the lights on and the water flowing during these times of crisis.

“I did check with the Santa Clara County Health Department, they said absolutely stay open, it’s a necessity for people to be able to have clean clothes,” said Marco Bazmendes, who owns the Laundromat.

The laundromat has staff to disinfect the washing machines and dryers after every use. It’s giving out gloves and hand sanitizer to users. Plus, washing machines are running hotter.

“We have turned up our water temperature to 150 degrees. The standard is 140, we just turned it up a little more to make sure it kills any virus or bacteria on the clothes,” Bazmendes said.

Other essential businesses are auto repair shops and gas stations, even though there’s not much business.

“We provide service and we keep the business open for people who need the gas,” said Ali Muhammadi, who owns the ARCO station at 4th and Taylor St. in San Jose.

Hardware stores are also allowed to stay open. The Ace Hardware in Los Gatos stocks supplies and tools people need while sheltering at home.

“If somebody’s toilet breaks or their faucet is leaky, they need to get it fixed and they need to get it fixed now,” said Bryan Matsumoto, who owns and operates the store.

Many sit down restaurants are closed, or have switched to take out or delivery. But fast food places with drive through windows allow people to get food and keep their distance.

“Places like this that stay open, it’s appreciated. They made sure we kept distance when we lined up,” said Mike Kruger, who went through the walk up window at an old fashioned Fosters Freeze hamburger stand where the cashiers and cooks stay behind the glass.

“A lot of people need to eat and feed the kids,” said Abbie Dorobi, the manager of Fosters Freeze.

Plus, they have what kids and grown ups also need: comfort food.

“I came to get ice cream because ice cream always makes you feel better and we all need to feel better right now,” said Stephanie Mackey of San Jose.

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