Some business owners are optimistic as COVID-19 restrictions ease

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The pandemic has had major impacts on several small businesses across our area and around the country.

Many have been forced to close or face massive layoffs. And while the federal government has provided billions in small business loans, it’s still been a struggle for many business owners to get back on their feet.

According to a recent report by Facebook titled “Global State of Small Business,” Facebook surveyed more than 35,000 small-business leaders across 27 countries in February 2021.

According to the report, 27% of U.S. businesses have had to reduce their workforce.

Jesse Matos and his family own Jax Touchdown Grill just a few blocks from TIAA Bank Field.

Matos said his parents had always wanted to open up a small restaurant in their community catering to breakfast and lunch.

“Ever since I was little, I always heard this was their dream, so it’s definitely something they’ve always wanted to do and will continue doing,” Matos said.

Their business opened in 2019.

When the pandemic hit last year, they were forced to shut down for three months.

“It was very difficult. We’re probably operating now at about 60 to 70% of what we were pre-pandemic, but now things are starting to pick up,” he said.

Customers are coming back, and COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease.

“As long as people get vaccinated and continue using their mask, hopefully, things will return to normal soon because I do miss crowds and excitement and ready to be done with quarantine,” Matos said.