Coronavirus pandemic impacts local businesses big and small

Posted at 9:21 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 21:21:53-04

BUFFALO — Trying to contain the Coronavirus pandemic is the priority of small towns, cities and counties across the United States. But following on the heels of this significant health crisis is a major economic downturn that is a gut punch to local businesses big and small.

Gyms and health clubs across New York State have been forced to close in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spreading. Ultimate Physique, a Lockport Gym owned by a husband and wife team, doesn't know if it can survive.

With travel grinding to a halt hotels are left with empty guest rooms. The Buffalo Grand has announced that it is shutting down. Owner Harry Stinson confirms with 7 Eyewitness News he is halting operations. He is retaining only essential workers to answer phones and provide security.

The hits to the hotel industry follow a statewide mandate that is impacting local restaurants. Area establishments have been forced to close their dining rooms and are trying to make ends meet with a take out business.

Even local car dealerships are facing hardships. West Herr Auto Group announced on Tuesday that the company is laying off 4 percent of its workforce, or close to 100 employees, because of changes in consumer demand. "Today was an incredibly difficult day for us all", said West Herr Vice President Bethanne Hollis-Kaiser in an email. "Like so many we are faced with making these incredibly difficult decisions."