Nick Novak Discusses Wisconsin Business Reopening During COVID-19

07.22.2020 Novak WKOW CEO Survey Screenshot

(WKOW) — The Mazo Grind is opening its doors for the first time Wednesday, and owner Gena Reitano says it’s exciting and scary all at once.

They’d been waiting on the building for several months, and as COVID-19 began to increase in prevalence in early 2020, she said they hesitated but ended up making their move.

“Knowing that the main thing for us here is that we really wanted to have a drive thru, we thought, ‘You know what, that works out really well with what we had been hearing at the time,'” she said. “Then as things progressed with COVID we thought, ‘It’s going to be even better, to be able to have the drive thru option, even if we can’t be open.”

Officials with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce say there’s actually a lot of optimism and excitement in the business community about getting back to work, either by returning or starting anew.

Nick Novak, WMC’s Vice President of Communications & Marketing, said that a recent survey of about 150 Wisconsin businesses showed some good news for many.

“While we have about 75 percent of Wisconsin businesses saying that they saw a negative financial impact from COVID-19 and the state’s safer at home order, only about 23 percent actually have said that they are not going to have a profit at the end of the year,” he said.

While uncertainty regarding financials and following safety protocols is still a factor, Novak said that there have been a lot of positive signs lately. Businesses have not only been able to adapt to online or curbside orders, there’s also been a significant drop in unemployment numbers.

“As we see more people get back to work that means more people are going to have paychecks, which means they can buy more things,” he said.

Reitano said she sources from local businesses, too.

“There’s so many local, great companies out there, whether it’s cheese or meats or any of that stuff,” she said. “Support each other because during the pandemic. We’re seeing these places not doing as well because the people aren’t buying or whatever is, so we can kind of support them in that.”

WMC also runs the Wisconsin Safety Council, and as a part of that they released an eight step guide to help businesses reopen safely.

Click here to watch the clip.