Adapting To Pandemic Forces Tough Decisions
The effects of COVID-19 have obviously been felt throughout the world, but small local business owners have certainly taken the brunt of the effects of the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases continue to plague Kimball County, Panhandle Public Health District on Tuesday reported 42 cases over the last 14 days and a total of 341 confirmed cases.
Dawn Moeser from the Sagebrush explained that COVID-19 affected them immediately, right after they purchased the building on March 3.
"We were unable to receive help from the state as a restaurant since the timing didn't allow us to have any revenue," she said.
She said four weddings had to be cancelled along with six Christmas parties.
"We just are keeping our heads up and pursuing as positively as we can," she said. "No one has ever said life was going to be easy."
The Sagebrush has quickly adapted to the pandemic by providing curbside pickup and the "to-go" option. Yet they are confident that their clean dining room is a safe and enjoyable place to eat.
"I am ready to get back to normal along with everyone else with a business," she said. "We pray 2021 will be a positive year for us all."
Other Kimball businesses must deal with the pandemic also.
Heather and Nate Entingh from Beer & Loathing said that they are still suffering from the state mandated closures of bars in April, although they did put the time to good use. They remodeled the inside of their facility, including putting in Americans with Disabilities Act bathrooms and a new bar.
As for now, Nate and Heather have laid off every one of their employees, cut their inventory by 75%, and cut their hours and days of operation to try to survive this unique period.
Previously, Beer & Loathing has been a huge supporter of local sports teams, fundraiser and charities, but with business revenue off 40% it is difficult to continue giving donations and sponsorships.
And for the past 9 months, the Entingh family has had to cut out all extra activities and expenses in order to maintain their financial security.
On a positive note, Heather told the Observer, "But not to worry, we aren't going anywhere."
Beer & Loathing will open again on Jan. 1. They will be open five days a week, closing on Tuesday and Thursday. Their full menu includes buffalo burgers, homemade sriracha sauce, pierogies, Irish spuds and salads.
Restaurants and bars have been impacted the most but other businesses have also felt the strain of COVID-19.
Classical Cuts owner/operator Susie Abramson said that her business, a beauty salon, has been impacted but she thought the impact was minimal.
During the month of April, her business along with all the beauty shops in the state were completely closed due to the state mandate and then she was closed another two weeks as she contracted COVID-19.
"My customers have been really good about everything and everybody is really good about wearing a mask, too," she said.
She continued to explain that there has been more laundry, more expense with sanitizing, and now she has purchased additional capes for every daily customer. Susie said she really feels terrible for the younger gals who are just starting out in the business and had to deal with a month of no income.