Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses have struggled. Furloughing employees, cutting back on hours, and some even closing their doors for good. And some of the harder-hit areas are rural parts of the state.

“You miss seeing the people that are getting older and you are wondering how they are doing,” said Ginger Shearer, assistant manager of Ye Olde Malt Shoppe.

That’s just one of many things that Ginger Shearer says has changed over the months. She says the pandemic has shaken their business up entirely.

Shearer added, “We’ve got our regulars that we love dearly and we’ve got our families that are coming in to eat.”

Under Governor Burgum’s recent executive orders restaurants are limited to 50% of their seating capacity, not exceeding 150 people. And for people who are dining in, seating must be 6 feet apart. But with the size of the restaurant.

“Unfortunately we can’t even seat people past 5 or 6 now,” added Shearer.

Another small business owner in Garrison says she has mixed feelings about the pandemic and the effects its having on her business.

“We have been holding our own. Some days are better than other days. Some days are slow of course,” said Cindy Fennewald.

Flowers ‘N Things owner Cindy Fennewald says they have seen an uptick in people sending flowers to loved ones in nursing homes, since many of them have restricted visitor access.

Another reason for that uptick is the hundreds of deaths over the past eight months related to COVID-19.

“Unfortunately we have been keeping quite busy with the funerals. That’s been a little bit more.
This week, knock on wood, we haven’t had any funerals. But like two weeks ago we had like 5 or 6 right in a row,” Fennewald added.

Both business owners agree the the pandemic has affected them both personally and professionally, but they are looking for the silver lining.

“The community in all will suffer, but in the long run it will be a win because we love our people in North Dakota and the surrounding areas,” added Shearer.

A win that many businesses are looking forward to. A day when they can welcome customers back and get back to business as usual. Something every one hopes to see in the near future.

The pandemic has also canceled the Dickens Village Fest in Garrison. In previous years, the festival brought over 1 thousand people a day to the city…
another source of revenue the businesses won’t have.