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Omicron Impacts Small Businesses

Since the beginning of the pandemic, small businesses have  taken a massive hit. They’ve had to contend with forced shutdown during lockdowns, capacity constraints imposed by Covid, angry customers, and labour shortages. Businesses are now faced with a catastrophic personnel shortage as the omicron form spreads and Covid instances rise once again.

As per the Small Business Administration, over 90% of the 31.7 million small firms in the United States have approximately 15 – 20 employees, and roughly 80% have fewer than 10 employees. That means that losing a worker due to absence has a major impact.

According to the data out from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 400,000 new Covid-19 cases have been reported per day since December 27. There has been one exception: there were about 273,000 new cases on January 1st. That plunge, though, was just momentary. The number of new cases began to grow again, and by January 3, there were almost 956,000 new cases.

As a result of positive tests among staff or as a safety precaution, a growing number of enterprises have had to decrease hours or close temporarily. While the majority of these adjustments are transitory, they are nevertheless unique measures that these companies would not have taken prior to the pandemic.

Due to personnel shortage, Katalina’s, a cafe in Columbus, Ohio, had to reopen later than usual. For the same reason, the Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company in San Francisco had to close for an entire day.

Due to the newest development with the omicron variant and existing staffing issues, The Marine Room restaurant in San Diego was ordered to temporarily cease operations. The restaurant said on its website that it would tentatively reopen on January 12th.

The new variation, as well as concerns about positive cases, come at a time when businesses are already facing a labour shortage.

There still are glimmers of hope among some of the small business owners and analysts NBC News spoke with that omicron’s impact will be less severe than previous strains’, because this new variety appears to induce relatively moderate symptoms in those who have been vaccinated. However, there is still a lot about this new variation that is unknown, and that ambiguity is worrying.

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