In an unprecedented year, a global health pandemic severely damaged economies and businesses worldwide on its path to killing millions of people.
Springfield was not immune to the effects of COVID-19, with stay-at-home and masking orders dominating headlines as local counties’ case counts and death figures rose.
Clay Goddard of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Steve Edwards of CoxHealth were among community leaders who became household names as they provided regular updates on the situation.
Before orders came down from government officials, headlines began in March when the Springfield-Branson National Airport warned of impending travel challenges and the city’s largest annual group event – the National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Championships – was called off.
Stimulus funding began to flow in from the U.S. Small Business Administration later that month, a precursor to the larger Paycheck Protection Program and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that would follow.
On March 16, Springfield City Council took its first official action by banning group events. That same day, Mayor Ken McClure also declared a civil emergency.
Businesses, including the Wonders of Wildlife aquarium, started to announce temporary closures around mid-March, when the first Missouri COVID-19 death was reported.
The local stay-at-home order came March 24, officially starting a period in which many workers became remote employees – or were furloughed – and industries such as tourism and hospitality crashed amid lost customers. Also impacted early on were educational institutions as students began to move learning online.
CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital Springfield in the spring started millions of dollars worth of preparation work for patient space. That work continues to date as hospital officials say they’re inundated with COVID-19 patients.
Furloughs and layoffs tallied up with announcements from Bass Pro Shops, Leggett & Platt Inc. (NYSE: LEG), the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and others. Some businesses closed altogether, such as newly opened The Hepcat jazz club and 6-year-old sports bar and restaurant Falstaff’s Local.
In the most recent government action, council on Dec. 14 extended the city’s face mask mandate by three months to April 9, 2021.
“We are certainly in the homestretch, the last leg of the race; we need to finish strong as our hospitals truly do depend on measures like this,” the Health Department’s Goddard told council at the December meeting.
Year’s end saw a glimmer of hope, as Mercy Hospital Springfield nurses became the first locally to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
Officials say, however, the development of vaccines by pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna and Pfizer could be resisted by some of the population and that it could be months or longer before some semblance of normalcy is established.
In SBJ's spring project report, 15 active construction jobs represent more than $167.5 million in investments and 1.25 million square feet of new construction, additions and renovations.
Jeff Eiserman, a senior risk advisor at Ollis/Akers/Arney, says the first priority in preparing for unexpected disaster is shoring up your financial house. In addition, Eiserman says vetting your suppliers, and making sure you have a diversified supply chain is a sure way of getting through difficulties like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Callie Carroll says the different jobs she has held over her career have given her more assets than she would have had with a cookie cutter resume. Now the vice president of business development and a shareholder relations officer at Old Missouri Bank, Carroll says those experiences make her more dynamic. Callie Carroll is a Springfield Business Journal 2021 40 Under 40 honoree.
Aaron Elliott never imagined he would get into medical device or create a self-defense fitness-based business. Now the co-owner of F8 Fitness and Self-Defense at the age of 46, he says Dr. Seuss nailed it on the head with “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” He says as long as you have the passion for it, you can do anything.
Senior Vice President and Commercial Loan Manager of Arvest Bank Steve Kelly says now is the time to start looking at your financial situation—such as where you can cut back or prepare yourself for economic recovery.
John Lopez, managing member at Old Route 66 Dispensary, talks through the Dispensary’s decisions to manufacture and transport its own goods. Lopez says the ultimate goal is to cut the cost of their product by around 30-50%. John Lopez is a Springfield Business Journal 2020 12 People You Need to Know.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a variety of impacts on the labor force, with some businesses doing well and others taking a hit. Elizabeth Hurts, business development manager at HR Advantage, says as much as we look forward to moving on, the effects of the pandemic aren’t over.
Mackenzie Scherer, small business technology consultant and owner of Mackenzie Scherer, LLC, discusses how scheduling software can help you keep ahead of your to-do list. Technology like chatbots and email templates...
Molly McCleary, owner and farmer of Maypop Flower Farm, says she’s seen edible flowers used many ways in different areas of the country. McCleary was initially contacted by several bakers, but says …
Carley Joy, sales and marketing director of SafeSpace Company says she and her father, CEO Rick Williams, have an honest and open communication style. Williams says the key is never to take things …
Brad Noble, co-founder of Art of Everyone, says art is the one thing that remains open to expression. He says art goes beyond the activity and helps build connections between people. Springfield …