Businesses are optimistic about the new year

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Businesses are beginning a whole new year with hopes that COVID is on its way out.

Local businesses have been impacted by COVID over the past year and some have even gone out of business. The ones that are still working have high hopes for 2021.

The area lost staple businesses like White Squirrel Brewery while other businesses like Pink Lily had an extremely successful year.

Another business, Mary Jane’s Chocolates moved to a new, larger location downtown during the pandemic.

While business was still good for the candy shop, it wasn’t what it could have been because of cancelled events on the square.

One of the owners, Gary Meszaros, is hoping the virus goes away during 2021.

“The biggest issue is for the pandemic to be over and things to go back to normal. Being on the square, we are hoping to have concerts in the square and different events going through and even like, parades and things like that where people feel comfortable walking around and visiting stores and things like that,” said Meszaros.

Brad Osbrooks, a local tattoo artist, says the shutdown was really hard on business, but the rest of 2020, business was good.

With restrictions for COVID safety, he hates having to tell people they can’t have a friend to hold their hand during their tattoos and even believes their one person limit could be stopping some people from getting artwork done.

“Just for everybody to kind of, maybe, just relax and lighten up a little bit and not having this COVID stress hanging over your head. We’ve had to go from doing walk-ins, we can’t take walk-ins. Everything is appointment only,” said Osbrooks.

As a whole, businesses seem to have a positive outlook on 2021 and are glad to still be in business.

Right now, Governor Andy Beshear has a relief bill fast-tracked that would help small businesses and immediately make available $220 million in the Better Kentucky Small Business Relief Fund.

If it passes, it will be the largest relief fund of its kind in generations.