Pet care facility Petopia, 920 N. Third St. in Grand Forks, has waived all fees for pet pickups and dropoffs in order to maintain social distancing while carrying out animal grooming, daycare and boarding operations.

The decision was made to help make it easier for clients in need of the company’s services. Petopia has also instituted a policy of allowing only one person in the lobby at a time. Staff are also prepared to come out to customers’ cars to pick up and drop off pets.

Though business has slowed, owner Travis Horney is determined to stay open to provide services to those who absolutely need it.

“A lot of our customers are nurses themselves, so they need somebody when they are working 18-hour shifts to watch their dog,” said Petopia owner Travis Horney, in a Monday phone call with the Herald. “They can’t leave their dog home all day.”

Petopia maintains two vehicles to transport pets from the facility to their homes, and the $10 round-trip fee has been eliminated to make it that much more affordable for clients, while taking into consideration issues of public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Now, we're just going to waive that fee and limit the amount of people that have to come into the store,” Horney said. “We’ll bring you your dog, you pay over the phone and that way everybody is a little bit safer.”

Horney estimates business at Petopia has dropped off nearly 80% with people not travelling, but closing down operations, at least for now, is not an option. He has staff to pay, and along with Petopia manager and fiance Katie Olson, has been giving staff deep cleaning duties and other odd jobs to keep them busy.

“We want to keep money in our staffs’ pockets as much as possible, as time allows anyway,” said Horney. “We've been in constant communication with our staff and we've been open with them saying, this is going to be a tough time for everybody; we're all in this together.”

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