Philadelphia restaurant owner reflects on COVID-19 shutdown 2 years later

Small businesses that managed to weather the storm of shutdowns imposed by Philadelphia when COVID-19 first gripped the city two years ago are still in recovery mode despite things being close to pre-pandemic normal. 

Exactly two years ago Wednesday, Philadelphia officials ordered non-essential business to close at 5 p.m. The edict closed most small businesses and reduced restaurants to delivery and take-out. 

"It was a quite a nightmare, roller coaster the last couple of years," Owner of Flannel restaurant Marc Grika recalled. "All we got was a good luck, thumbs up, and we knew it was trouble from that point on." 

From March 2020 on, coronavirus spread across the world and so too did its influence on everyday life. In the months since, Americans have trudged through COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, universal mask mandates and capacity requirements. 

Three vaccines were quickly developed to slow the virus as it manifested into difference variants that forced officials to reimpose loosened restriction. Along the way, an estimated 80M people have been infected by COVID-19 and more than 960k have died. 

Small business have fallen by the wayside, but those that made it through still feel the whiplash from life suddenly slamming on the breaks. Grika said he has to take out loans to keep Flannel afloat.

"People think that we’re reopened, so we’re making money again," Grika said. "Well, we all took out loans during the pandemic to keep going, so we might look busy, but we have all these loans to pay back where nobody’s in the positive right now."




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