Even after businesses were allowed to partially re-open in late spring last year, many wound up going bankrupt, closing their doors forever. But there have been exceptions.
Carl Van Horn, the director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said with so many people continuing to spend more time at home, many businesses that offer home improvements, upgrades, landscaping and remodeling are doing well.
Cleaning and disinfecting companies are in high demand, and companies that deliver things to people’s homes have also been extremely busy. This trend may continue even after the pandemic is over.
“Once people get in the habit of consuming or obtaining things directly in their home or apartment, they may continue to do that for years to come,” he said.
Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said that with less face-to-face travel and in-person meetings these days, businesses like hotels and motels have seen a drastic drop-off. Even dry cleaning businesses have seen a sharp decline in demand because less travel and public events means less demand for cleaned and pressed suits and dresses.
Also, the fact that alcohol sales are also on the rise indicates how stressed many people are, she said.
Tom Bracken, the president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said telecommunications businesses that allow people to connect electronically, like Zoom, have given many companies an expanded ability to connect with clients and colleagues instantly.
Van Horn noted the pandemic has been especially tough on smaller restaurants, the arts, as well as travel and hospitality businesses that have seen their revenues dose-dive over the past 12 months. He said it may take years for these businesses to recover, if they ever do at all.
“Once you’ve learned to be cautious about something and make that your priority, it doesn’t just go away because you got a (vaccination) shot," he said.