Chesterfield businesses impacted by pandemic


Tazza Kitchen offers curbside pickup and outdoor seating.

There is no denying the impact that COVID-19  has had on the United States economy. On the local level,  small business owners and their employees are among the hardest hit during this national economic crisis. 

Small businesses have adjusted to several different approaches to reopening during the pandemic, with most restrictions coming directly from state government officials. 

Senior Esme Atkinson was employed as a host at Texas Roadhouse during the time of the first lockdown. As an employee in the restaurant industry, she was forced to make adjustments. 

“When we phased back in, we were only doing to-go orders, and only the people who needed the money were put on the schedule,” Atkinson said. 

A major impact on small businesses is how fast everything in the United States changed. While business was usual one day, the next day, the small business owners and their employees had to face the reality of how the world would function during the global pandemic. 

 Jeff Grant is the owner of Tazza Kitchen and a resident of Chesterfield County. Grant owns and operates six restaurants, three located in the greater Richmond area, two in North Carolina, and one in South Carolina.

“Prior to the virus, the economy was doing exceptionally well. Business was the best it had ever been, and we were operating on a really good clip,” Grant said.  “When this happened, it required so many changes that had to happen so quickly.” 

In addition to the sense of shock Grant faced, there was another bridge that he had to cross: laying people off and taking a source of income away from many people. 

“The most initial jarring impact that the pandemic had was realizing that we would have to lay off a large proportion of our employees,” Grant said. 

As a business owner, there are a number of problems that must be prepared for, but no one was expecting the outbreak of Coronavirus-19. Reality was altered in numerous ways, and while wishing to go back to “normal,” many Americans were left with confusion about what is to come. 

“The definition of normal is going to change a little bit, and the reality is that the virus is not just going to disappear,” Grant said. “It will be something that we will be living with.” 

For small business owners anticipating a spike in COVID-19 cases this winter, the idea of going back to normal seems far fetched. 

There are many ways to help these small businesses that are still trying to recover from the economic downfall that the pandemic caused. Ordering takeout over the phone and placing online orders directly through the restaurant, ordering through Doordash and other meal delivery services and buying gift cards as gifts for people to help these businesses, in the long run, are all ways to help revitalize the small business community in Chesterfield County.