Economic Outlook Forum: Bismarck-Mandan Companies Predict Better Year | New
Kurt Miller, the owner of the Old Ten Bar & Grill, and Tyler Halm, the manager of the Bismarck Scheels store, said they have seen an increase in curbside pickups and efforts to ensure facilities are properly sanitized. Baymont Inn and Suites general manager Tyler Gangl said the hotel has moved to an extended stay model as conference bookings disappeared.
Panelists also described issues with retaining and hiring staff, as well as the need to pay cash bonuses to keep employees on board.
But as state restrictions were lifted and COVID-19 vaccines became more widely available, the three said they started to see things returning to normal, though issues with recruiting staff and of the supply chain persist.
Gangl said he believes hotels will reach 2019 capacity levels by the summer, and Miller said older guests are starting to return for in-person meals.
“You have to be conservatively optimistic, but I have no doubts that if we support all the locals, we do the things that we need to maintain our Bismarck-Mandan community, it will be a great year,” said Halm.
Leaders in higher education, energy and healthcare discussed the resilience of their industries to COVID-19 in a separate panel.
North Dakota Petroleum Council Chairman Ron Ness described the fallout after oil prices fell last March, which included thousands of laid-off and laid-off workers and a number of closed drilling rigs. But he pointed out that the Bakken oil field still produces more than 1.1 million barrels of oil per day.