(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Many signs of Covid-19's economic impact are being seen and felt in downtown St. Joseph in recent days. Small businesses are closed, streets are empty and many who work in the area have questions.
Brian Myers, city councilman, and small business owner said many of those questions focus on where the downtown area is economically in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic as well as what the future holds.
Small business owners forced to close their doors after the city imposed a shelter in place ordinance in response to the pandemic are facing more uncertainty now that the ordinance has been extended.
That uncertainty is taking a toll on some.
"I didn’t sleep a whole lot while I was trying to figure out what to do," Syndey James, owner Cafe Pony Espresso said.
James said at first she tried staying open, but later reconsidered citing social responsibility.
"It was not an easy decision," she said. "It didn’t feel like I should be doing that anymore."
James like many others in the area said they're trying to figure out the next steps. Answers are hard to come by, and the city says the best thing to do is be prepared.
"We really don’t know long this is going to last," Myers said. "There will be some businesses that won’t bounce back from this."
Small business owners said they're doing what they can to get through these challenging times. For many, that means coming together and supporting each other.
"I am so grateful for the business community that we have downtown," James said, "We’re all in this together and that’s been the biggest help for me."
Councilman Myers also says he's looking into waiving business license and liquor licenses as well as health permits for the time being to ease the cost burden on local business owners.