One Year Later: Business leaders reflect on the pandemic’s impact in 2020

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — KOB 4 has been telling stories for a year about the thousands of struggling New Mexico businesses. On Tuesday, as the one-year mark of the first cases in New Mexico approaches, businesses and industry experts helped look back at what the state has endured, how many have adapted and what the future could look like.

“It’s heartbreaking because we get calls all the time from businesses that are going out of business or that don’t know how they’re going to make their next payment,” New Mexico Business Coalition President and Founder Carla Sonntag said.

From tourism, to concerts, to shops, to salons, to entertainment centers—many locations have had to at least think about closing down forever.

Dining at restaurants has been closed down and reopened repeatedly, causing major headaches, and bars couldn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Along the way, businesses adapted, focusing on delivery or outdoor dining, for example.

Innovation included farmers selling goods curbside for the first time and many businesses bolstered online options.

“It’s absolutely the biggest story of our lives,” Albuquerque Business First editor-in-chief Rachel Sams said.

Business journalists like her said no one could have anticipated this.

“It was almost like a battery of constant change and shocks to the system, and every day, over and over, recalibrating and saying, ‘How are we going to get through this next challenge,’ at a pace that most business people we talk to had never experienced anything like it.”

Corporate America has made serious adjustments too. Zoom calls have replaced in-person meetings. Living rooms are the new board rooms.

Throughout the last year, businesses everywhere had no choice but adapt and be patient, with new ways of doing business, keeping employees and customers safe and the hope that this pandemic will someday come to an end.

For the businesses across New Mexico that have survived, help is on the way.

The New Mexico legislature is expected to pass a multi-million dollar COVID relief plan aimed at helping businesses across the state, and Congress is also working on a relief bill that is expected to help New Mexico’s private sector.

As businesses begin to reopen in New Mexico, KOB 4 is making it easier for them to share what COVID-19 safety precautions they are taking to keep customers safe. They can post to the Safe Start NM page about their reopening plans.