Small business in trouble during the outbreak of COVID-19

By J1 Reporter Olivia Ost

“Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “pandemic” are words that bring chills to your skin. This awful disease has overtaken the lives of many people and has filled it with worry, sadness and remorse. Many people are suffering during these hard times, having to deal with the loss of their jobs and the means to support their family. According to the Washington Post, more than 3.3 million people have filed for unemployment, forcing the Senate to pass a bill that allows people to earn additional money. However, entrepreneurs are not eligible to benefit from the “coronavirus check” that includes $1,200. “Self-employed workers, gig workers, undocumented workers, students and people who worked fewer than six months last year are typically not eligible to apply for unemployment insurance in most states,” said Heather Long and Alyssa Fowers of the Washington Post in a March 26 report.

David Ost, a contractor (reporter’s father) who owns his own construction company, Ost Inc. Construction, has found it difficult to continue business with some of his clients due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Ost said, “Phone calls from potential clients have slowed down quite a bit, and some of our clients have canceled walk-throughs.” Some of his clients have little children and do not want people in their house who aren’t immediate family. Ost said that he understands the situation and said some of his clients are willing to work with him to get the job done without having to cancel. Some of them are even willing to put the work off for a couple of weeks. Eventually though, clients won’t be able to keep extending the date as the coronavirus spreads and confirmed cases keep popping up. While this pandemic continues to grow, Ost said that he is very grateful that clients are willing to work with him.

Ost found that some of the difficulties with being his own contractor is buying supplies for the jobs he is working on. Ost said his planned strategy is to buy supplies only a week at a time. “I want to be prepared, but I can’t buy supplies for the next month because if the client wants to cancel, then I am out that money and left with supplies that I don’t need anymore,” Ost said.

Ost went on to talk about his family and financial plan. Not only does he have a plan for work, but he also has a plan for his family. He and his wife make sure to stay on top of bills as they come in so they don’t pile up after everything goes back to “normal.” The government has allowed a grace period for people to put off paying bills while the epidemic is going on. However, citizens must pay all those bills when the government has lifted this period and people are able to go back to work. As for buying groceries, he said that he tries to go to the store once a week. His wife also plans days to get takeout to help support local restaurants. The Osts feel like they are doing their part to help local businesses who are in the same financial situation. 

ost business
David Ost’s current construction job is fixing up these condos in Plattsmouth. Photo courtesy by David Ost.


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