Cousin Hugo’s Closes Doors In Maplewood After 82 Years: What Can Businesses Do To Get Back To Normal?


As of September 8th, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis Metropolitan area reduced their customer capacity by 50% of the permitted occupancy to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to

Days before these new restrictions became effective, Maplewood’s oldest and most storied bar and grill, Cousin Hugo’s, closed its doors. Months after the coronavirus shut down Maplewood, owner Tommy Bahn reopened Hugo’s for delivery and takeout only. He then reopened the dining area in July.

According to Bahn, sales at the restaurant increased year-on-year until the pandemic hit. The 65-year-old adds, “The business is still viable, but my lease is up.” So, can businesses overcome the impact of the global pandemic after reopening? Here’s how most local business owners are getting back to the new normal.

Understanding Government Guidelines 

Before you can resume operations, take time to review state and local health guidelines for reopening businesses. Some of the workplace health and safety measures include providing employees with face coverings and gloves, following strict social distancing rules, and disinfecting your workplace. It is also your responsibility to ensure customers wear face masks and discourage lengthy face-to-face discussions between clients and employees.

Under disinfection, business owners must provide hand sanitizers, clean water, and soap for hand-washing. In addition to high-touch points like table surfaces, doorknobs, and handles, it is important to disinfect the entire building to eliminate traces of the coronavirus. Health experts recommend outsourcing certified COVID-19 cleaning professionals to perform thorough cleaning and maintenance in your office. It is important to hire expert professionals trained in disinfection who will use high-tech equipment and follow the latest industry practices to ensure your workspace is clean.

Create A Plan To Bring Employees Back 

Effective employee communication is essential if you want positive results when reopening your business. So, inform your workers when you intend to get back to work. Provide accurate information about safety measures and physical work changes.

Explain to them the recommended daily employee screening procedures and how you plan to transition new policies like work from home options. Also, have a plan to train your employees about new safety standards once they resume.

Review Your Business Model

With limited funds and supply chain disruptions, you’ll have a hard time staying afloat in the market. Fortunately, there are several business survival tactics you can try to promote success. Start rethinking your business model and change your pricing options.

For example, if you own a restaurant, change your menu to accommodate items that sell quickly as takeout. Also, consider charging an extra fee for faster services, deliveries, and scarce goods. This trick will help you retain customers and earn reasonable profits.

Reopening business amid the global health crisis is challenging. There are many changes to consider, like reduced customer capacity and strict health protocols. You also need to find new opportunities and make up for lost sales. However, you can reopen your small business successfully if you follow government guidelines and implement some survival tactics.