As COVID-19 numbers continue to climb in Athens County, Athens enterprise homeowners are developing with methods to soundly deal with the elevated enterprise from the anticipated inflow of scholars returning to campus within the spring.
Companies throughout the nation have skilled necessary shutdowns and decreased patronage this yr. Athens native companies suffered a blow when most Ohio College college students, who make up nearly all of the town’s inhabitants, weren’t permitted to be on-campus this semester.
The inhabitants of Athens is about to extend following President Duane Nellis’ announcement that residential students may opt to reside on-campus through the Spring Semester. As of late November, 3,315 college students have chosen to dwell in on-campus housing. Solely about 1,500 college students lived on-campus throughout Fall semester.
Donkey Espresso and Espresso, a preferred research location for OU college students, was hit onerous firstly of the pandemic. Even after reopening following a compulsory closure, the cafe continued to supply carry-out just for 4 months, ensuing within the layoffs of 18 of twenty-two whole workers.
Even with the lowered pupil numbers on campus through the fall, enterprise for Donkey Espresso has been higher than anticipated, ensuing within the rehiring of all however two workers.
Regardless of the anticipated enhance in enterprise for Donkey Espresso throughout Spring Semester, the homeowners plan on conserving seating at one-fifth of capability, with most obtainable tables positioned roughly 12 toes aside. Tables will proceed to be cleaned after every use, using laminated sheets that prospects can flip over once they go away indicating that the desk must be sanitized.
On-line gross sales of merchandise – which in response to co-owner Chris Pyle have elevated by 9 occasions the earlier quantity – are anticipated to stay influential. They’re additionally contemplating the choice of extending enterprise hours once more as soon as the semester begins.
It may be tough for college kids to seek out secure and open actions when taking a break from learning through the pandemic. Athena Cinema has continued to supply leisure to college students on-line, although it’s closed for in-person enterprise.
Digital movies, occasions and extra programming are presently being supplied by the cinema for group members.
Although income has decreased since transferring enterprise on-line, the well-being of patrons and employees stays prime precedence. By way of grants and outdoors funding, the cinema has been in a position to preserve its full employees, Managing Director Alexandra Kamody, stated.
Although Athena Cinema has not but decided whether or not it would open in-person for Spring Semester, a rise in pupil participation is predicted, whether or not digital or not.
“We expect that college students, and all group members, will probably be on the lookout for a artistic outlet and desirous to share their joys, anxieties, fears and extra — via the artwork of cinema and the expertise of going to the theater,” Kamody stated in an e-mail.
Large Mamma’s Burritos is predicted to see extra OU college students again in Athens, whereas prioritizing well being and security.
“We sit up for that enhance in enterprise. Now we have loads of of us and we’re nicely outfitted,” Jerry DePizzo, co-owner of Large Mama’s, stated. “We sit up for extending our hours and placing extra individuals again to work.”
To accommodate the decreased enterprise and lack of dine-in providers, Large Mamma’s has prolonged their menu to incorporate hotdogs, known as Tommy Canines, and now offers service via third-party providers similar to Doordash. Additionally they lately revamped their on-line ordering system.
Surfaces within the restaurant are sanitized each half-hour, with all employees and prospects required to put on masks and preserve a six-foot distance whereas inside. Any worker who’s uncovered to the coronavirus or shows signs is required to remain residence and have proof of a detrimental COVID-19 take a look at earlier than returning to work.
DePizzo stated he’s happy with the staff’s willingness to abide by the rules, and the very restricted variety of exposures and instances amongst workers.
“When we now have skilled a problem, we now have been in a position to deal with it and preserve everyone wholesome and secure,” he stated.