Owatonna (Steele County) has fared better during the pandemic than some in Minnesota due to the make-up of our economy. Most of the 40+ Owatonna industries continued production during the ‘Stay at Home’ order as an essential business and large employers like Federated Insurance continued to operate mostly by moving employees to work from home.
A couple industrial businesses did furlough employees for a few weeks, but did not have to implement full layoffs.
The hardest hit businesses have been small, independently owned ‘MainStreet’ businesses. This includes restaurants, fitness centers, hair salons, and small retail. Those most impacted count between 45-70 businesses that had significant economic downturn due to the pandemic. We know this through data collected during the Jumpstart Owatonna initiative (May-July) that served 45 businesses directly and the Owatonna CARES Grant program that is currently working with 67 applications.
There has been one closure that occurred because of direct impact of the Covid-19 situation-PartyPlus in downtown Owatonna.
Consumer habits moving more on line shopping, less indoor seating capacities and the coming cold weather has local businesses cautious and concerned about what they will face economically in 2021.
Local Unemployment Statistics for August 2020
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Our Chamber has approximately 530 members that invest their resources, employee volunteerism and confidence in the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism and the business community.