CHICAGO (CBS) — It has been 98 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Illinois and 46 days wince restaurants and many other businesses closed. A lot of jobs and a lot of money has been lost since then.
That’s why CBS 2’s team of reporters is Working for Chicago, focusing on the jobless and those with renewed hope that money will soon be coming in. Some restrictions will be lifting for business owners beginning Friday.READ MORE: Delivery Driver Shot In Head In Back of The Yards; 18-Year-Old Struck In Thigh
There are signs up and down the roadway in La Grange for restaurant pick up and delivery. Starting Friday retail will be added to the list, but to be able to even close a sale and try to heal economically, they’ve had to pivot.
When you sell board games, you have to connect with players.
“Not having the ability to have people come into the store, interact with them, we’ve been operating with a missing limb: the ability to actually have customers come to us,” said Fair Game’s Eric Brezina.
While some businesses like restaurants have been open for take out, Brezina had to adapt his nonessential gaming store to electronic orders only.
“We’ll take the phone walk around the store and just talk to you,” he said. “It was a scramble. What are we doing for shipping? What are we doing for packaging materials?”
Brezina even created virtual gaming sessions with customers. Though Illinois retailers like Fair Game are now approved for pick up and delivery starting this weekend, that game has a whole new set of rules.READ MORE: Toys For Tots Motorcycle Parade Delivers Presents For Children
“You have to have able to have a business setup to survive in a contactless economy, and that means different things to different people,” he said.
For Peak Running it has meant developing virtual sales skills. There a runner’s gate is gauged from a FaceTime call before closing a sale.
The group art tables sit empty at Bottle and Bottega, which now packages take-home instructional kits and is training staff in online presentation.
“We definitely had to pivot a lot,” said Meg Le Faivre.
In part to drum up business but mostly to say thank you, La Grange’s small businesses organized a parade through village neighborhoods Thursday. It was unexpectedly emotional.
“There were several times I was taken aback,” said Brezina. “As a small business owner myself, knowing how hard these past few weeks have been but being able to see the community step out of their homes and cheering you on and doing all that, it meant a lot.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Monday Brings Wind, Blast Of Cold Air
Brezina said surviving won’t really depend on the past six weeks but how a business adapts in the next six months.