Some businesses remain open, but face several other obstacles during COVID-19 pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As many business owners are hoping to reopen, some are finding that even if they’re open people might not know, might not need them, or might not want them in their home. Pet sitting companies are facing these issues.

“This is a very difficult for us right now,” said Becca Lu, Austin Pet Sitters Organization founder.

She said since the shutdown began, pet sitting businesses have taken a hit with the industry facing three distinct obstacles. Lu said one issue is people don’t realize they’re open.

“Hey, Austin!” she exclaimed. “We are here, and we are here to help you.”

The second is more people are staying home, so pet sitting companies who depend on customers to board their pets, play with them, walk them or administer medication — aren’t calling.

Tracy Smith at Luv My Sitter knows it firsthand. Her company’s home visits have gone from an average of 50 a day to just two.

“It’s a 98% drop in income, but it’s a 0% drop in bills,” Smith said.

Third, people don’t feel comfortable with outsiders inside their homes.

“You know as soon as coronavirus hit and the media let everybody know what was going on there just became a huge fear of letting people into your home and it’s a valid fear,” Smith said, “I think people just got really scared and they don’t want us in the house anymore.”

Lu said customers should not worry.

“We will take every precaution by putting masks on, gloves on, booties and then we will sanitize everything,” she said.

Smith considers herself one of the lucky ones. She said she knows of at least 20 pet sitting companies in Central Texas that have had to close.

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