A grim anniversary, as one year ago, the first COVID-19 case was announced in the United States. This changed the way many Americans lead their everyday lives, and hitting locally owned businesses especially hard.
Small business owners say learning to pivot has helped them to stay afloat. They say though it has been extremely difficult at times, the community’s support has meant everything in the last year.
Karen Thomas, the owner of Pineapple Eddie’s Southern Bistro, says for her business pivoting during the pandemic has meant making sacrifices, voluntarily closing dine-in services many times throughout the pandemic in the interest of public health.
“We knew we were going into the season, the holiday season where people will gather. So, we just figured it was probably a good idea to be on the front end of this.” Thomas said.
Thomas adding though it has taken a toll on the restaurant financially, the risk of spreading the virus is too great. Thomas says the restaurant is currently only open for take out.
“I think that’s a chance I’m willing to take in order to keep the staff safe and in order not to add to the problem of allowing the public to gather in a space that could potentially cause harm.” Thomas said.
Another local business owner says the last year has been all about adapting for those at Yoga Erie.
“We were constantly changing directions, trying to adjust to whatever our new normal was going to be and then we would get things set up and be normal or what was the new normal and it would change again.” said Jill Crawford Murphey.
Crawford Murphey adds that in the summer months, Yoga Erie continued to serve the community with outdoor classes in the parking lot. She says since October, the studio has been open for socially distant classes where masks are required. She says these classes are also live streamed, attempting to meet everyone’s comfort levels.
Several business owners say they’ve found ways to serve the community in ways that feel safe and comfortable to them.