The Omicron variant has spread rapidly throughout the United States in the past month and New Jersey has seen over 300,000 new cases in the past 14 days alone. As more and more people test positive and begin to quarantine, businesses are feeling the pressures of work force shortages and the various risks involved in staying open as the variant surges.
One Montclair business in particular has decided to shut its doors indefinitely due to the virus. The owners of Guerriero Gelato issued a statement last week via their Facebook and Instagram page that they would remain closed due to the excessive amount of issues caused by the Omicron variant. The post received an outpouring of love and support from Montclair locals who sympathized with the owner and employees' frustrations in having to deal with a virus that has plagued businesses for the past 2 years.
The post stated that the month of December was "pure chaos" for the gelato shop. They were forced to cancel a record number of Christmas orders due to employee shortages. As one team member tested negative, 2 more would test positive. The store could not keep up with the amount of employees calling out. Owner Mike Guerriero has said that over the last week there have been more employee call outs than the past 2 years combined. The post went on to state that although the business has survived 2 years of Covid so far, power outages, and flooding caused by hurricane Ida, the sheer amount of positive tests and declining employee morale have been enough to make the emotional decision to close their doors.
Guerriero Gelato currently has a Caldwell location in addition to their storefront located at 571 Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. The business decided that because of this close proximity in location, that they would combine team members from both locations to keep the Caldwell Guerriero Gelato open. The shop will continue with its regular, full hour schedule and will also offer pickup and delivery options to Montclair and the surrounding area residents.
As the virus continues to spread rapidly, and more and more of the workforce tests positive, New Jersey and the rest of the United States are faced with major decisions in whether or not keeping businesses open is the right thing to do.