The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped society around the world. It seems that it has permeated almost every nuanced detail of people’s lives and I am sure I can speak for everyone in saying that we are sick of it. With it being so saturated into daily life it has changed many different aspects some of which may never return to normal. And these changes are not just happening on a global scale the effects are being seen everywhere even in towns all around Indiana. Businesses are being shut down left and right with areas of less affluence being affected the most. Other areas of more affluence such as Zionsville are still being affected by the pandemic however there are stark differences between the two. Unlike most other areas of Indiana Zionsville is full of almost all small businesses. There are very few chain stores and of those they are almost all fast food. Because of the nature of small businesses and the effects of the pandemic one would expect there to be large numbers of bankruptcy. Through my research I found that the truth was much more complicated.
When researching the effects of the pandemic one of the most common topics I found being discusses was about business. Businesses are being permanently shut down because they cannot afford to keep their shops open. This is especially true for the restaurant industry where no matter how much protection a person wears there is still going to be some level of exposure due to the nature of the products. A review article from Yelp shows that the highest rate of businesses shutting down is amongst restaurants. Because of this these businesses were highly regulated during the pandemic leading to some of the highest rates of foreclosure. Despite the area’s wealth, Zionsville was not excluded from these effects. I am sure that every business in the area has felt the effects of the restrictions however most of them had the capital to stay afloat through the pandemic. There were still a few businesses that shutdown most notably Serenity whose owner explained why they had to shut down in an article by Jarred Meeks. Ultimately it comes back to the economic impact and impairment of the pandemic. In many other places other restaurants are following the same path toward bankruptcy however in Zionsville this was a rare event. According to an article from Patch during 2020 there was only 3 businesses that went bankrupt in Zionsville and this number was actually lower than previous years. What this indicates is that despite the obvious effect the pandemic is having on these small businesses they have enough wealth to stay afloat despite the pandemic. An article by Yelp illustrates that almost 100,000 businesses have been closed down since the pandemic as of September 2020. This number will only rise as time goes on.
During the height of the pandemic almost all restaurants were struggling to do business while adhering to the CDC’s guide lines. Unfortunately, there simply is not a way to make restaurants truly contactless. The very process of making the food can introduce pathogens into it leading to infection despite maintaining every other safety precaution. To deal with this many establishments tried to keep doing business by only serving takeout orders. This way at the very least there was less person to person contact. This trope amongst restaurants was a little bit different in Zionsville. Most restaurants followed the CDC’s guidelines to the letter. When other businesses were bending the rules as much as they could just to survive the businesses in Zionsville were doing everything they were told despite the economic repercussions. Some businesses went so far as to shut down curbside pickup like The Friendly Tavern as described in an article by Brenna Donnelly. This removes almost all sources of income from these businesses. While it also saves them money since they do not have to pay any staff during this time it still costs a bit just from paying the rent on the building. On the surface these actions may seem very noble and in some ways they are. Doing everything within your power to stop the spread of a deadly virus even at your own detriment is noble. However, what it boils down to is that these businesses had the economic freedom to do so. If everyone had the ability to close shop for a few months most people would.
The entire atmosphere of the town has changed due to Covid-19. Before the pandemic, the town was always packed full of people to the point where it was difficult to walk around everyone on the sidewalks. Businesses, especially the bars, relied heavily on this foot traffic and while some of it has returned, it is anyone’s guess as to when it will be the same as it was pre-pandemic. The traffic may never return to same level as it was. Other businesses in the area have also been affected with many closing shops and choosing to instead focus on working at home. These businesses are also mostly small businesses, but they were able to keep working throughout the pandemic, so they were less effected by it. Even so having less people in the town working every day further decreases the amount of business these stores get. Lastly pre-pandemic there were many programs like afterschool clubs for kids and sports teams using the local park. These have vanished almost entirely which further leads to a decrease in business. These programs are not likely to return anytime soon because now parents are stuck at home working, so they are able to watch their children more defeating the need for these programs. While having the parents spend more time with their children may be good for the kids this change in traffic could have farther reaching effects.
Zionsville is an area which the Covid-19 pandemic should have had a greater impact on. There are numerous bars and restaurants more so than other areas. Restaurants have been a prime victim of Covid-19 with some of the highest rates of bankruptcy among businesses. On top of that as mentioned before most of these restaurants are small businesses with their store fronts in Zionsville being their only stores. Lastly there has been a dramatic change in the foot traffic within the town due to Covid-19. Many businesses relied on this traffic and it simply is not possible anymore because of social distancing. Even though a lot of businesses within Zionsville are managing to stay afloat because of their economic security, there is no telling how long this will last. There are changes occurring within the town that could have major effects in the long run. Though many have lasted this long their future is unclear because of the unique environment that Zionsville is.
Donnelly, Brenna. “Zionsville Restaurant Deems Take out Too Risky, Closes – WISH-TV: Indianapolis News: Indiana Weather: Indiana Traffic.” WISH, 1 Apr. 2020, www.wishtv.com/news/local-news/zionsville-restaurant-deems-take-out-too-risky-closes/.
Meeks, Jarred. “Closing Time: Serenity Closes Its Zionsville Location • Current Publishing.” Current Publishing, Current Publishing, 3 Jan. 2021, www.youarecurrent.com/2021/01/03/closing-time-serenity-closes-its-zionsville-location/.
“Yelp: Local Economic Impact Report.” Yelp Economic Average, Yelp, Sept. 2020, www.yelpeconomicaverage.com/business-closures-update-sep-2020.html.
“Zionsville Area Bankruptcy Filings Slowed Amid Pandemic Last Year.” Zionsville, IN Patch, Patch, 12 Mar. 2021, patch.com/indiana/zionsville/zionsville-area-bankruptcy-filings-slowed-amid-pandemic-last-year.