GREEN BAY, Wisc.(SPECTRUM NEWS) — It’s been a hard year for many Wisconsin businesses.
The Safer at Home directive shut down many businesses for months at a time — and the resurgence of the virus has added a new layer of uncertainty for owners across the state and nation.
While the economy saw a major contraction in the second quarter, many businesses are finding ways to adapt to the challenges being thrown at them, says Jovita Carranza, who heads up the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“I’m very impressed by the way small businesses have stayed so resilient and so innovative,” she says during a trip to Green Bay Friday. “Many of the small businesses I visited today — which were three manufacturing systems — have actually pivoted and adjusted their business plan to accommodate personal protection equipment. They’re not waiting for the pandemic to overcome, they’re actually making the necessary adjustments on a daily basis.”
To help businesses make it through the early days of the pandemic the agency offered the Paycheck Protection Program. It’s a plan that could get a revamped look in the next round COVID-19 relief.
“This next package will make a few adjustments to make sure these small businesses are sustained longer,” she says. “That initial PPP protected as a lifeline. Businesses were able to retain their employees and continue operating.”
Bridget O’Connor, owner of O’Connor Connective in De Pere, was among a group of women owners who met with Carranza as part of a countable discussion. She and other business owners are facing an unfamiliar landscape as they navigate not only the lingering effects of the first stages of the pandemic, but an increasing number of COVID-19 cases around the state and nation.
“Our thinking that used to be a few months at a time, or even a few years at a time,” she says. “Now it’s just days at a time. We can try to plan, but we really have to be flexible — depending on how this all plays out.”