COVID-19 impacts businesses and employees alike

Elgin and the rest of America grapple with the affects of COVID-19


Wes Sanderson

One location bank has temporarily closed its doors and consolidated with other locations in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and comply with Illinois Shelter-in-Place orders.

Wes Sanderson, Staff Writer

While schools and universities may be on “extended spring breaks,” the rest of the American workforce has continued to push forward while COVID-19 has swept across the United States.

For some in recent weeks, employment has decreased in many industries. Tourism has become something of a risk. Live entertainment non-existent, thousands of Americans alike all staying home because of this widespread pandemic.

“Two weeks ago, I was preparing to work the SEC Tournament, now I am home helping teach my little sister history from our kitchen,” said Kara Thomas, a senior at Lipscomb University in Nashville Tennessee.

“It [COVID-19] ended my college career, and internship, early,” Thomas said. “There was no warning, just an email saying, ‘until further notice, you are not to report to the arena.’”

Like Thomas, other workers across all industries have been receiving similar memos over the past few weeks.

Though not all places are shutting their doors temporarily.

Essential business will still function such as grocery stores, postal services, emergency services, medical and social services will still work during these trying times.

Financial institutions are deemed to be essential business as well, so banks and similar institutions, such as the stock markets, will remain open throughout this pandemic.

One privately owned bank in the ECC footprint has taken the step of consolidating its branch locations down to just four locations, temporarily closing the remaining locations and keeping those employees home from work.

“We believe this was our best option to continue servicing our customers while maintaining the best possible health and safety standards for both our employees and customers,” said Kevin Langin, Senior Director of Public Relations and Communications for FNBO.

This abrupt change was “to align with the state’s shelter-in-place order,” Langin said in an email.

Several sources for this article spoke under the request to remain anonymous because of their current employment or standing within the company.

While measures such as these seem to be supported vastly among employees, concerns still exist on some key points.

“I understand this situation is fluid, but some direct answers to whether I will be paid if I don’t work would be nice,” said an employee from one of the locations being temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

Though some employees might be at home right now, these closures are strategic.

“This approach also allows us to rotate staff during the week to aid in promoting their [employees] health,” Langin said.

From a customer standpoint, FNBO has established a section of their website as a resource for information about COVID-19 and how operations will continue during this pandemic.

This website has links to ATM and branch hours and open locations along with other relief efforts.

Other college students who have come home are facing more uncertainty than those in the Elgin area.

“Up until Saturday I wasn’t aware if I would continue to receive student work-pay till semester’s end,” said Julianne Pankow, a freshman student at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota.

“While that money might not seem like much, I still have some bills that need to be paid,” Pankow said.

Money and employment seem to be on the fronts of everyone during these uncertain times, these concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

Last week the federal government rolled out an almost $2.2 trillion stimulus package, with relief measure directed towards Americans in the form of a cash payment.

Other employees have received the news they were hoping for.

“I am relieved to know I will be getting paid till the end of the month normally… it’s a relief that puts me at ease a bit” said an hourly employee from a local financial institution.

Those there is no timetable as to when normalcy will resume, the economy will continue to function and at least some will continue to work.