COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Business owners in central Ohio are feeling a bit of relief after the CDC changed the recommendations on quarantine and isolation times for positive COVID-19 cases.
It’s been nearly three weeks since the CDC reduced the guidance on isolation from 10 days to five days, and business owners say it’s not only helping them maintain operations, but also keep money in the pockets of their staff.
“For the employees, team members, for them to get back to work. A lot of people are living check-to-check,” says Aaron Gaynor, the Owner and CEO of The EcoPlumbers.
On Friday morning, technicians were busy planning routes and equipping work vans before they head out on service calls.
For Gaynor, it’s keeping them healthy that has become his company’s biggest challenge.
“As a home service company, our number thing is safety in the home, right? Regardless of whether it’s the health of our employees or the health of our customers,” Gaynor admits.
The EcoPlumbers are a Hilliard-based service company with more than 200 employees.
He says at one point, he was down an entire department due to COVID-19.
“We’ve done the best we can to support and pay and keep people going, but when you’re down as many people as large as our company has become, it’s hard to cover that compensation all the time,” admits Gaynor.
But the calls kept coming no matter how short-staffed they were.
“We have a lot of customers that became backlogged on jobs for weeks and months at times because of the shortage,” Gaynor describes. “They want to do the right thing, they want to be safe. But they also want to work.”
As an essential business, Gaynor’s doors never closed.
A reality faced by Schmidt’s in German Village over the past week.
“We had already thought these items through,” explains Carla Epler. “And we’re like, ‘okay, we’ve got to go last resort.’ which was shut down for a week so everyone could rest, recuperate.”
Schmidt’s re-opened its door on Friday after Epler, the company’s COO, said they exhausted every option to stay open.
“It was different this time than the last time we had to close because we closed on our terms, and we had a plan for it,” Epler describes.
Epler says contingency plans have forced employees from other sides of the business, and even managers, to help fill empty shifts.
But with new guidance helping employees get back on the job quicker than before, businesses remain hopeful.
“They’re ready to work and keep moving forward,” says Epler.