Hospitality Recovery Group takes on mission to help Cleveland small businesses navigate pandemic, future emergencies

by | Jan 31, 2022

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CLEVELAND — Many Cleveland small businesses have yet to recover after now years of enduring a pandemic.

“People are still out sick. So staffing is still an issue,” said Sean Watterson, president and co-owner of Happy Dog. “Omicron put a serious hurt on the entire sector.”

Watterson says while he was fortunate to retain employees, other businesses haven’t been so lucky.

“I think I think there’s no going back to the way things were,” he said.

We know as the challenges of the pandemic worsen with the discovery of more variants and ever-changing health orders, the struggles faced within the city’s hospitality industry worsen as well.

Results from a new Goldman Sachs survey found 79% of small businesses are concerned about the pandemic and the omicron variant. Moreover, 84% report pressures due to inflation are increasing since last fall. It goes on to show 97% say labor shortages are hurting their bottom line, which is a 17% increase since September.

“We know how important this industry is for our live economy in Cleveland,” said Bishara Addison, director of Job Participation at Fund for Our Economic Future. “After they’ve gone through such a psychological shock as COVID, as well as kind of what we’re calling the twin pandemics of also this kind of racial reckoning that our country has gone through, individuals are reevaluating their lives and thinking about making different choices.”

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