JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Indiana's surge in cases and overwhelmed hospitals has many in the Hoosier state concerned. Leaders from all different sectors – education, businesses and hospitals -- held meetings Dec. 30 to discuss the best ways to move forward.
WHAS 11 spoke to a Jeffersonville business owner who said this year has been tough all-around.
"Our philosophy is just survive,” Adrienne and Company owner Bernie Pasquantino said. “When bad things happen, just stay alive, and if you can stay alive, good things will eventually happen."
That’s what Pasquantino has been doing for nearly two years now - taking hit after hit and bouncing back.
His small café and bakery currently has two locations – one in Jeffersonville and in Corydon. He had to close the locations in New Albany and Louisville due to the pandemic.
“That was a painful process – never had to close anything in our lives like that,” Pasquantino said.
He said food cost is up at least 20%, and the same for labor.
“If a wedding cake was $300 dollars, now it’s probably $400,” Pasquantino said.
Pasquantino also said it’s been tough with more employees getting sick and needing to quarantine.
“That leaves a gap and then there aren’t extra people to cover that gap, so we just ask everybody to step up and do two jobs sometimes,” Pasquantino said.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce said the labor shortage is still a problem, and the rising number of cases is making it worse.
“We haven't recovered, and economy is not producing as much as it could if we didn’t have all these employees out with Covid,” Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said.
He also said people with long haul symptoms are filing for disability, furthering the issue. In total, he said thousands of people are out of the workforce.
As for Pasquantino, despite setbacks, he's grateful for the continued support.
“We appreciate all the customers who have been in that fight with us, and we definitely appreciate the employees who come in everyday and do the work of one, two or even three people,” he said.
The bakery he originally had to close in Louisville will reopen next week.