Small businesses continue to face temporary COVID-19 closures

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Over the past year just about everyone has had to figure out how to manage quarantine time due to close contacts or symptomatic cases of COVID-19. But for small business owners, those two weeks away from their work can mean a complete closure of business.

“We were just about to hit our one month anniversary so March 6th we opened and then April 1st I came down with COVID,” Sweetgrass Soapery owner, Mirand Koltze, said.

Miranda Koltze is not only the owner of Sweetgrass Soapery — she also makes all of her own products.

“Currently its like 98-percent me. My husband can come and help sometimes, but he has a full time job,” Koltze said. “So when I came down with COVID it was a tough decision but we just had to shut the whole place down.”

Koltze thought her time away from the store would be an opportunity to make more products and return to online orders.

“When I first came down with it I was very optimistic, like ‘oh I’ll be done with this in 3 or 4 days and then I’ll have a full week to work.’ And it did not work out that way. We were solidly sick for 11 days.”

While her customers and neighbors were incredibly supportive the two-week closure so soon after opening brought a lot of concern.

“We’re very grateful to live where we do, everyone was so supportive and fellow business owners were reaching out to see what they could do,” Koltze said.

The two-week closure so soon after opening brought a lot of concern.

“It was scary, we had a real moment of ok what do we do. Beyond just me in the store I have artists that have their work in here, I have to pay them as well for their goods and their time, so to be shut down for two weeks was really frightening.”

But now the Sweetgrass Soapery is back open with customers returning in full force.

“It went really well when we got back so its put a lot of our fears to rest.”

While there’s no real federal aid for newly opened stores — small businesses that were already open at the start of 2020 can still apply for the PPP through May 31st. Or SBA’s EIDL loan program through the end of the year if a case of COVID temporarily shuts down their business. 

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