Local Businesses Reflect On Difficult Pandemic Year

Mar 18, 2021

It’s been one year since Arizona restaurants and gyms shut their doors due to state-mandated closures at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny checked back in with some Flagstaff businesses to see how they’ve fared during a difficult year.

Credit SearchNet Media from Tucson, Arizona

The hospitality sector has been the hardest hit.

The Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff closed and reopened multiple times in the last year. Owner Pamela Green says they’ve gone from almost fifty employees to just five. "I’m not getting my same people back, a lot of them have moved on," she says. "So it’s like starting a new business again... my menu’s smaller.... It’s disheartening, to say the least."

In Flagstaff at least a few restaurants and a farmer’s market have closed due to the strain. Staci Martin’s Yoga Revolution studio couldn’t receive assistance through loans and had to shut down. "There is no going back to normal," she says. "When this first happened we’re like, when will things be normal again? I don’t know in the yoga industry if it will be normal again."

Many business owners say the emphasis has switched to virtual events and online sales.

It’s unclear how many businesses have permanently shut down locally or nationally due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate in Arizona peaked at fourteen percent last April and has steadily improved to less than seven percent in January, with slightly higher numbers in tourism-dependent Flagstaff.

For KNAU, I’m Melissa Sevigny.