HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the pandemic’s two-year mark quickly approaching, Homebase, a workforce management platform, released useful information on how the pandemic has impacted small businesses across the country. 

Jason Greenberg with Homebase said when omicron was on the rise, the number of hours worked in Hawaii decreased. 

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“Hours worked by Homebase employees in Hawaii decreased noticeably in the period coinciding with the rise of omicron (-10% in the period from mid-December 2021 to mid-January 2022),” said Greenberg. “As omicron has receded, Hawaii has recovered considerably, posting a gain of 6% in the period from mid-January 2022 to mid-February 2022.” 

According to their statistics, the impacts of COVID-19 on Hawaii has been far-reaching. However, not all industries have been impacted in the same way. 

For example, those who work in the food industry saw a steady decrease in hours worked from August to November. But, in December, people in that industry saw a drastic decrease in December and Homebase said omicron is to blame. 

Those working in retail saw a slow increase in hours worked from April through October. But, come November and December when COVID cases were once again on the rise, their numbers drastically dropped too.

When small businesses were struggling with new COVID guidelines many of them decreased their hours and expanded their online sales.

This also played a role in the labor shortage, with small businesses either not looking to hire or not finding the right candidate.

Although large corporations were hit during omicron small businesses struggled even more to stay afloat.
Homebase recommends small businesses who are struggling right now to reach out and see if they can get any funding to help them pay late bills. 

For example, most independent restaurants in the US that experienced a loss in revenue in 2020 compared to their revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization fund grant. 

This grant is from the American Rescue Plan Act. You can submit an application by applying directly to the U.S Small Business Administration’s website.

The food establishments that may qualify are:

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, trucks and carts
  • Catering companies
  • Bars, lounges, taverns, inns and saloons
  • Breweries, wineries and taprooms
  • Any licensed alcohol producer where the public may taste or purchase products on location

According to Homebase restaurants and bars that are owned by a publicly traded company or by the government are not eligible for the funding.

Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines, boosters and Safe Travels information

One positive thing to note is with COVID guidelines loosing nationwide, more people are prone to head back to work. Meaning employee hours in Hawaii and throughout the country are projected to go up once again.