© 2022 Cincinnati Public Radio
Connecting You to a World of Ideas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Region's Businesses Say They Are Ready To Get Back To Business

the banks
John Minchillo

Businesses of all sizes are having to make adjustments because of the coronavirus outbreak. For some that means shuttered offices and employees working remotely. 

David Kirk is the president and CEO of DNK Architects. He participated in Wednesday's Hamilton County press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirk said some of the firm's clients are continuing projects. But many larger ones are pulling back, waiting to see what happens to the economy after the pandemic. 

"We have to-date been able to keep all employees on payroll, but we don't know how long we're going to be able to do that," Kirk said."Because of the just general financial impact that causes to the business."

Kirk, in an email to WVXU, described his business as a "mid-sized firm." He would not say how many employees he has on the payroll

The firm is seeking funds from the Small Business Administration. Kirk said the firm has filed for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and a funding from the Paycheck Protection Program. It's waiting on answers from both.

Kirk and other businesses across the region are anxious to reopen and get back to normal operations. But it's still unclear when that will happen. 

Jill Meyer is the president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. She said a task force is working on a re-start for the local economy.

"That's a group of about 20 CEOs across the region who have come together to say, we will get beyond this, we will begin now thinking about what follows, and we will prioritize how we can tee up that work and invest in that work to make sure we come back strongly," Meyer said. "And at the same time, we recognize that we have to find ways to help businesses get through this right now."

Besides CEOs, Meyer said the effort includes government leaders and representatives from social service agencies. She said there's lots of collaboration and "everybody has to be rowing together."

"And by organizing in that way, in a proactive manner as we have, we do feel confident that the tremendous momentum that we had just a month ago, we'll come back and it will come back because we, across the community are already strategically working on what that looks like and how to enable our businesses to get back to work," Meyer said.

Meyer says there are 126,000 small businesses in the region, and about 46,000 have been directly impacted by the pandemic. She said they need $250 million to keep them going.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.