Baldwin City businesses cope with coronavirus restrictions

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Baldwin City businesses, such as Homestead Bakery, have had to close or make adjustments due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Ty Harris, Online Editor

City-wide self-enforced quarantining and other consequences of the global COVID-19 outbreak have taken a toll on Baldwin City’s locally run businesses.

Although most establishments have had the good fortune to stay in business under strict regulation, others, such as Baldwin City Dental, have been forced to close completely except for in cases of absolute necessity.

“Our dental office has been affected pretty drastically,” Dr. Chris Leiszler said. “On Monday, March 16, the American Dental Association issued a statement recommending that all dental offices cease operation for at least three weeks, other than for treating emergencies. This is undeniably the right thing to do, but it really puts us in a difficult spot to make sure our employees are going to be okay.”

Due to the office closing, Baldwin City Dental employees have temporarily lost their jobs.

“The hardest part was breaking the news to my employees that we will all be out of a job for at least three weeks,” Leiszler said, “probably longer. We all have families to take care of and bills to pay, and now we have to find a way to make ends meet without a paycheck for a while. It’s incredibly stressful for everyone.”

Other businesses, such as the Homestead Bakery, have been fortunate enough to stay open, with restrictions placed on how they conduct business.

“The COVID-19 virus has forced us to make big changes in our restaurant,” said proprietor Lori Gardner. “We can no longer have dine-in seating, and we are having to make sure we keep customers in-house picking up orders to a minimum (10 or less). We are also making sure all surfaces are wiped down regularly and that employees wash their hands very frequently.”

For chiropractor Jeremy Rodrock, the most difficult part of the COVID-19 outbreak’s effects on the Baldwin community is seeing the struggle of its citizens.

“The hardest part in our office has been seeing the fear and worry that people are experiencing,” Rodrock said. “We are so used to being able to take care of everyone’s health issues. This crisis has been difficult for me to get a grasp of. As a practitioner, I cannot help solve the issue at hand.”

Despite its negative impact, businesses have also seen positive impacts from the changes caused by this outbreak.

“The positives are helping the community get fresh, home-cooked meals, produce and other supplies,” Gardner said. “We are also providing meals for elderly folks who can’t leave their homes.”

Almost all can agree that the recent hardship that has struck not only Baldwin, but the rest of the world, has strengthened the unity of the local community.

“I want to express my gratitude for everyone in the community for being so kind and understanding as we’ve tried to navigate this uncharted territory,” Leiszler said. “Depending on how long we have to remain closed, it may take several months before our schedule returns to normal, so I hope the kindness and understanding from everyone continues even after the pandemic is long gone.”

“The positives I see are that we are all going through this together,” Rodrock said. “We can all have empathy for each other and I believe it will bring us closer together as a community.”