SWFL businesses prepare for COVID-19 vaccine

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Joey Pellegrino

Since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, Wall Street has started to stabilize, and new optimism has emerged for the places where we shop. Now local business owners wonder what the next step will be to get back to normal.

Cole Peacock, owner of Seed & Bean Market in Fort Myers, says the key to keeping the doors of his coffee shop open has been safety, and if vaccinations become part of that, he is not opposed.

“I think it’s just going to have to come down to, sometimes, employee choice, and really what’s best for the business, and in the restaurant industry what’s best for the patrons that are coming in and out,” Peacock said.

Unlike other businesses in downtown Fort Myers, Seed & Bean Market is still only operating at 50% capacity due to safety concerns.

“In a perfect world, I think the majority of people should be vaccinated; that’s the issue at hand, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” Peacock said. “That’s why you’re seeing the federal government move so quickly to do this. We don’t always live in a perfect world… so yeah, it’s like the flu shot, hopefully: People are going to take it, and some won’t, the majority will.”

Tom Smythe, finance and economics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, says that if a business owner like Peacock were to market the fact that his employees were vaccinated, there’s no telling what the impact would be, especially since they are weeks away from getting their hands on the vaccine.

“If we did not have a vaccine where we are, given the wave that we’re going through from a health perspective… economically, it would be worse than what we experienced in April or May, I have no doubt in my mind,” Smythe said.

Smythe added that since the first vaccine was announced and approved, we’ve seen good stability in the markets, and he expects that to continue with news of the Moderna vaccine’s likely approval in a matter of days.

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