Springfield businesses react to spike in COVID-19 cases
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Small businesses across Springfield have taken a hit by the pandemic over the past year and a half. While things are beginning to look normal, the rise in COVID-19 cases are alarming to some owners.
Lost Signal Brewing Company had to temporarily shut their doors and do strictly to-go orders for about two months last spring. Owner Tyler Hoke said things are looking back to normal, but sales are still not where they were pre-pandemic.
“I think now that you’ve seen that masking does help people didn’t have the flu or colds whenever we were masking,” said Hoke. “So doing those kinds of precautions and keeping hand sanitizer stations clean and regimens up, I think is a great way to keep it down.”
He said being short-staffed was a struggle, but recently they were able to hire employees. Currently his employees aren’t required to mask unless they feel comfortable, along with customers. He said there’s still tables that are closed off for social distancing purposes.
Hoke is hopeful that his business will continue to stay open.
“It’s definitely not all of our employees responsibility to keep everyone healthy, it’s up to the customer,” said Hoke. “While we let you come in without a mask, you can come in with a mask. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t go anywhere.”
Rusty Worley with It’s All Downtown said businesses in downtown Springfield tell him they’re back to pre-pandemic sales after more events are back up and running. Worley said businesses are still dealing with staffing issues.
He is confident the city will not order another shutdown like last spring. Worley said getting vaccinated is the best line of defense to not only protect the community but to keep small businesses open.
”No one wants to go back to that situation where we have the occupancy restrictions and masking,” said Worley. “We want to take advantage of some of the outdoor spaces that our businesses have. I think the science has found that being outdoors helps a lot and many of our places have good outdoor options so that’s one small case but the biggest strategy is going to be to increase our vaccination percentage.”
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