Small businesses fear closing over COVID-19

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 8:11 PM CDT
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Today -- state leaders held a press conference to address Nebraskans, filling them in on the latest developments with the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials say businesses and schools need to be prepared for what could come next.

“We will see more cases in Nebraska and we need to expect closures, as we've seen, and cancellations,” said Director of Nebraska Public Health Dr. Gary Anthone.

Small local businesses like the Imaginarium are trying to prepare in the event they need to close their doors.

But they know their employees are counting on them.

"A lot of people say ‘oh you own your own business, you're rich,’ No. I've often said I'm two weeks away from having to close my doors,” said James Kavan, owner of the Imaginarium. “I have five or six families that count on putting food on the table with what we provide here."

Kavan is taking precautions like upping cleaning and moving employees to different spaces if they are uncomfortable being around others.

Beyond that -- he's looking at ways to save money where he can.

"What bills can we cut out? What is absolutely not essential? I don't want to cut hours because people say ‘well, you'll just have to cut staff hours.’ Well, that affects everybody because they still have their bills coming in, we still have our bills coming in,” he said.

Gerald Glaza is the inventory manager at the business.

“It just hits close when it's down the street so to speak,” he said.

This business is doing what they can for the time being -- but they say it's not as easy as just having a plan in place.

“If you have to close up shop completely -- that's a scary one because I don't have an answer for that. Every business is day by day-- week by week,” Glaza said.

For now -- things are running as normal but some employees say they're making a plan with their families if they end up out of work.