How local businesses are preparing for the winter months with COVID-19 restrictions

Isa Grunwaldt, Staff Writer

This year has been terrible for businesses with many mom and pop restaurants and stores forced to close due to a lack of income from people stuck at home. This summer, stores, and restaurants were able to do a little bit better because of the new practice of having extra seating outside, expanding into roads and parking lots. This has helped the number of customers restaurants can service and table turnover rates, but how will the tables turn with winter coming up so rapidly?

Our businesses here in gaslight are not exempt from the uncertainty of winter. Many businesses know this will not be a year for profit, but merely a year for trying to stay afloat. 

Wok and Mortar employee, Sadi, believes Wok and Mortar can stay afloat over the winter but they will need support.

“We are already a dine-in and takeout restaurant and a majority of our orders are from out of town,” Sadi said. “We do UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub, and our own online system. COVID-19 definitely hindered business over the summer, and lots of gaslight I think lots of other gaslight businesses are in our same situation. Hopefully, the locals will come to eat here and support us. That would really help.” 

Besides the more mom and pop stores of gaslight, big chains such as Starbucks have been affected too, but not in the same way. One Starbucks barista, who requested to remain anonymous, said COVID-19 even helped local businesses over the summer.

“Our business has drastically increased in Grand Rapids,” the barista said. “It’s not like that everywhere. In Chicago and New York, we are having major shutdowns of Starbucks, but for some reason here in Grand Rapids business has been more than ever.”

When asked about how Starbucks expects to handle the virus outbreaks over the winter, the barista said that they would just be listening to the Gov. and ensuring safety protocols. 

“With the coronavirus, we will probably continue to keep the tables six feet apart and limit the number of people allowed inside at any given time depending on the stage of opening up,” the Starbucks employee said.

The barista was also very optimistic about gaslight businesses over the winter. The barista believes many gaslight businesses have done okay so far, given the circumstances, and that the community will support them over the winter.

“There are seasonal businesses around here but I don’t think they will be seriously hurt. Besides that, I don’t see many businesses being really affected by the virus. People will just keep doing what they are doing now.”

Working together with local businesses and bumping up support as seen with our local Starbucks could definitely help save many of our favorite businesses here in the community. It will help support jobs and boost the local economy too. Next time you go to buy a coffee, think about what food you’d like to go with it. Most likely there will be a local business that would love to support your food cravings.