Breckenridge businesses struggling with PPE costs, people taking their money to Wahpeton

WILKIN COUNTY, Minn. – The cost of masks can be expensive for small businesses, something Minnesota and the Wahpeton Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce worked on to help.

Face coverings aren’t the only thing causing issues for struggling companies in the area.

Complying with the recent mask mandate handed down by Governor Tim Walz has been a tough order to fill for some Wilkin County businesses already hammered by COVID-19.

“Covering PPE costs is huge for our businesses. Some of our businesses are struggling, and it’s another added expense that is tough for them,” Chamber of Commerce President Executive Director Lisa Kunkel said.

For the Breckenridge Econofoods, the price for PPE goes up every day they remain open.

“Probably two masks for shift, we’re going through quite a few. We have 10 employees a day, so if you figure we’re supplying two masks per day per employee, it does get to be a pretty big cost,” Breckenridge Econofoods Store Manager Jill Henry said.

With help from the Minnesota state government, and the Wahpeton Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, those businesses are finally getting a little relief.

“It was definitely very much appreciated. It was kind of tough to get masks in at first,” Henry explained.

The cost of PPE isn’t the only thing causing problems for businesses in the Breckenridge area. It’s the mask mandate itself.

“It’s a little bit more tricky when you’re a border community. We do have some concern for people crossing the river to come over to the North Dakota side where they don’t need to wear a mask. Especially for restaurants and things like that,” – Kunkel said.

“We are seeing a difference in our sales. Our sales have gone down just a little bit, and the sales over at the other store have gone up,” Kunkel said.

Despite the dip in sales, Econofoods is still thankful for the protection the mandate offers.

“I think for the staff especially, it’s nice to know that we’re protected on both sides. It’s nice to have that kind of double duty,” Henry said.

A trade of profits, for the sake of safety.

Categories: Business, Coronavirus-MN, Minnesota News