COLORADO SPRINGS — Small businesses in Colorado Springs have been dealing with COVID-19 restrictions most of the year. "Made us have to be flexible and adjustable," said Odyssey Gastro Pub, Owner, Tyler Sherman. Now with health leaders taking prevention measures to the stricter “orange” status there are new challenges.
Heading into winter the option of outdoor seating for eateries is far more limited. Colorado Springs does have some winter days with warm enough temperatures, when some people may choose an outdoor table. At Odyssey Gastro Pub they have lap blankets to help with the decision. "Reduced indoor capacity again and with the seasons changing and reduced hours that we can seat outside, it just becomes more difficult," said Sherman. With the inside now limited to 25% capacity, it is important to maximize available seats, at all times. "It's really great we have a reservation system so people can make reservations ahead of time to help maximize time of day."
The challenges are a little different for small retail stores. A specialty shop like women’s contemporary clothing store, Colorado Co-op typically sees day to day customer counts lower than the now restricted capacity limits. The issue, especially around the holidays is marketing events. "The ability to do some of our fashion night out events, our special events, our evening shopping events, we haven't been able to do that," said Manger, Denise Sheridan.
Small business owners are also well aware that COVID-19 numbers continue rising. As they deal with the latest restrictions there are concerns things could get worse.
It is why some retailers put holiday merchandise out earlier than usual. "I don't know where we're going to be in a month from now or what things will look like,” said Sheridan, “So, let’s do what we can now while we're open for business." Another goal with the early merchandise availability is an incentive that could spread shopping out over more weeks and keep the number of people in stores lower. Business owners say they have no choice but to deal with the situation. They hope the public steps up to help them through thin times like they did when restrictions were at a heightened level earlier in the year.