Beloit businesses forced to get creative to stay afloat during pandemic

Local News

BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — As COVID-19 cases surge across the nation, Wisconsin has become a hotbed for the virus. On Thursday, more than 3,000 new cases were announced, putting the state’s 7-day positivity rate at 22%.

The community testing site at Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus in Janesville closed early on Thursday, after administering 900 tests in its first two days.

The site, run by the Wisconsin National Guard, was limited to 300 tests per day, but more were given due to the high demand.

The high rate of infections has meant new challenges for Rock County businesses trying to stay afloat.

“It’s hard to follow the needle, frankly,” said Tom Morgan, owner of Cheez Head Brewing, at 414 Pleasant Street in Beloit.

Morgan opened his store in January.

“To be honest, it’s been up and down. It’s been pretty rough to keep things going here,” he said. “I want to have a good business, but it’s really tough right now.”

With thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rock County, Moran and his employees are constantly cleaning the shop.

“We do spend a lot of time, ever time a customer comes in and rotates, we spray the space after they leave,” he said. “One use on the glasses, we don’t pour back into a customer’s glass. We pour a fresh glass every time they get a beer or soda.”

Morgan says a lot of regular customers haven’t been coming in as they try to stay safe during the pandemic, so he’s had to get creative, by constantly brewing new types of beer flavors.

Shauna El-Amin, Executive Director of the Downtown Beloit Association, says that’s something many businesses have been forced to do.

“Many of them have morphed and come up with new solutions, new ideas for their business and how their customers can get their business,” she said. “They just want to remain open, maintain their customer relationships, and they’ve also wanted to take what the state is saying [are] guidelines and use that to their advantage, and make sure they’re welcoming customers.”

Morgan says he’s going to continue on, pursuing his passion.

“I hope that we recover safely. That’s the most important thing. But also, that people are able to hold on to their businesses, their households, and their means of income, because that’s important,” he said.

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