COVID-19 Affecting Local Businesses, Student Jobs

Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The COVID-19 virus has brought a lot of negative effects, especially to businesses around the country and here at home in Green Bay, WI. 

As unnecessary businesses have been shut down, many people have been left without an income. 

Businesses deemed unnecessary have been forced to close, leaving many hard working NDA students at home. 

Mariah Michalski and Abby VanOoyen, both seniors, have worked at Hobby Lobby weekly up until these regulations caused them to close their doors.. 

“We are no longer getting paid; we can file for unemployment if we want to. As of right now, we are closed through the end of April, but that could all change,” said Michalski.

“Also, we really miss seeing our coworkers,” said VanOoyen. 

Some businesses have been fortunate enough to continue work, as their products are necessary. 

Showcase Kitchens Renew-A-Kitchen Inc. is one of them. They specialize in cabinetry in custom homes, remodels and commercial buildings.  

“We got to stay open because we are in the construction and homebuilding industry,” said Scott Karbon, one of the owners. “We are essential because you can’t slow down homebuilding and people need kitchens.”

Although getting to stay open, they have experienced a lot of changes and mandatory adjustments. 

“We have set a rule that employees must stay six feet apart, and the showroom is open by appointment only with only one customer a time,” explained Karbon. “We have reduced on-site work hours to a minimum needed to sustain operations, staggered shifts and work hours to minimize onsight human presence and staggered use of all shared spaces, including bathrooms, breakrooms, and lunchrooms.” 

“We have mandated work at home for all employees except the absolute minimum for baseline production, implemented sanitary processes, especially in high-touch areas and set a travel ban internationally,” he added.

As a company of 93 people, they have had to make many decisions to ensure the welfare of the employees. 

“Not seeing customers has affected me most. It’s strange going weeks without seeing customers,” said Heather Karbon, a designer who now has to conduct her appointments over the phone. 

“Also, our schedule has been shifted around a lot. Some people don’t want us in their homes while others don’t care,” said the designer.