Frogtown small businesses struggle amid rapid spread of omicron variant

It just kind of feels like a big question mark," said Wax Paper co-owner Lauren Lemos.
FROGTOWN (KABC) -- As we approach the third year of the pandemic, small businesses in Frogtown are getting hit hard. Owners say they're desperate to fill the worker shortage and have spent hundreds of dollars on tests.

"If you're someone who's working all the time and you need to go take two hours out to get a test, that could be two hours of your wages," said Wax Paper co-owner Lauren Lemos.

Lemos says they still struggle with understanding guidance from the city to operate safely, with changes happening constantly.

"It just kind of feels like a big question mark," said Lemos.

Justine Hernandez is the owner of Just What I Kneaded, a vegan bakery next to Wax Paper.

They opened in 2020, right in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, and they weren't open long enough to qualify for a small business loan.

With the omicron variant spreading at a rapid rate, she says testing is crucial to keeping her doors open and staff safe.

Five of her 18 employees are out sick, including her overnight baker, so this week they can't make bread.

"It's a difficult position to fill. Also, you know, it's a very trusted position, because she's here alone," said Hernandez.

Both owners say they want more support from the city. Like dropping off free tests.

"Drop masks off for us, you know, come by and say hi," said Lemos.

And Hernandez asks the public to keep supporting their favorite small businesses.

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