An inside look of an unexpected small business hit by COVID-19

BY ELISABETH GROMOFSKY

COVID-19 is something that has been filling the media for days on end. The news is the same every day; more cases, more deaths, more closures, and extended quarantine time. Many people have been furloughed or laid off, left wondering when things will be back to normal. Small business owners across the United States are in the same boat. However, restaurants and local stores are not the only business being affected. Dentists are also being affected by COVID. Dr. Gromofsky, a dentist in Richfield, Ohio, is someone who has been hit hard and experienced the effects of this worldwide pandemic.

Richard Gromofsky, DDS, has been the owner of his dental practice for 28 years. 

“I wanted to be my own boss and manage a practice with a philosophy of caring for one patient at a time,” said Gromofsky. “Before this pandemic hit, we would see around 120-130 patients a week.”

This steady flow of patients was stopped when this pandemic hit and Gromofsky was forced to shut his office down, only being open to patients who had emergencies. Economically, his practice went from doing 100% to 5%, in a matter of hours. He had to lay off 8 of his 10 staff members as well. 

“We lost 95% of our business, and went from a day full with patients to seeing 4 patients in one week,” he said. 

Dr. Gromofsky, a dentist in Richfield, Ohio, is a small business owner who has been severely affected by COVID-19. After being shut down for almost 2 months, Dr. Gromofsky’s practice is starting to reopen, taking many precautions.  PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD GROMOFSKY

Not only has this taken a toll on his business and revenue physically, but it has made a big impact on his mental state. 

“Before this pandemic, I had never had high stress or anxiety. I am usually pretty laid back and easy going,” Gromofsky said. “Now, I have high anxiety every day.”

Gromofsky says his anxiety comes from two sources. The first is like many others; the fear of the unknown with the virus. The second is the fear of the financial ruin of his family and his employees. 

Gromofsky was able to re-open his practice on Friday, May 1. 

“I was able to hire back 75% of my staff. They are back in the office and working. However, I am still uncertain about the other 25%,” he said. 

As of right now, Gromofsky’s practice is doing 50% of their normal volume. 

Many guidelines have been put in place by the CDC and the Ohio State Dental Board upon reopening. Gromofsky must have enhanced PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment), disposable gowns, N95 respirators, face shields, full scrubs, and surgical hair covers. He must also implement a HEPA air purification system in his office. 

“The Corona Virus has affected my business just like every other business,” said Gromofsky. “The media just doesn’t bring awareness to mine and other medical offices that are not being considered essential.” 

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