Businesses in COVID-19

The pandemic has pushed many of our reporters off-campus, giving us an opportunity to report on areas outside of Millikin.

May 5, 2020

COVID-19 is altering how businesses run. Whether it is a chain or a family-owned company, many things have changed.  

In terms of a large chain like Dunkin’ Donuts, the main difference lie in the day-to-day routine. Penny Gale, a General Manager at a Dunkin’ in Joliet, IL, says that every location is different, but with her location being in a truck stop, customers are still able to come in and order, they just cannot sit down to eat. The drive-thru is also open still. Gale says that there are fewer people of course, but it hasn’t been as empty as some might expect.  

When it comes to reopening fully and trying to get back to normal, Gale says she thinks it’ll be a process, especially with the big hit on the economy. 

“I think people are still going to be nervous even if Governor Pritzker lifts the stay at home order,” Gale said.

It will take some time for workers to get back into the normal swing of things, but she hopes the guidelines for cleaning in businesses will be much better after this pandemic. Gale has a specific view for what the best-case-scenario will be when things re-open.

“We know we’ll have our regular customers still, it’s just about building back what we had before all this happened, getting catering orders, anything to get customers back in and letting them know it’s over with and we are doing everything we can to recover.” 

In the worst-case scenario, Gale thinks a lot of small restaurants and bars will end up closing.

“Businesses are going to fold because they just couldn’t get normal back,” Gale said.  

As Gale mentioned, small businesses are taking a much bigger hit during all of this. Pastime Sports Academy is one of them.

Scott Simons is the owner of Pastime Sports Academy, a softball and baseball batting cage facility in New Lenox, IL. He says they’re currently closed.

“It’s a $10,000 fine if I’m caught being open,” Simons said. 

I don’t know when we’re gonna reopen, so it’s difficult because the dates keep getting pushed back,” he said. “I’m hoping in July.”

He also went on to say that in his industry, the kids are going to come in no matter what once they reopen.  

When asked about his bestcase scenario when reopening, Simons says he hopes to get “crazy busy” like he typically is in the winter and spring.

“I need it to be busy in July to make it to December,” he said. “I’ve lost two or three months of customers. This is gonna put a lot of people like me out of business.” In Simons’ worst-case scenario, the virus comes back after reopening businesses and this all starts over again. With not being able to open, Simons isn’t making his money, so he says he’s lucky that his landlord for the building has adjusted the rent during the pandemic.  

This pandemic has been a crazy time for everyone in such different ways, whether it’s big businesses having to adjust their ordering systems or small businesses having to close altogether.  




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