Businesses make adjustments as students return to Columbia

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COLUMBIA- Businesses are seeing an influx of customer traffic because college students and their families are back in town.

The University of Missouri will resume classes Monday, August 24 and many students began moving into their apartments and dorms this weekend. 

Since COVID-19, many businesses experienced limited hours or closed completely because there weren't enough customers to keep the business running. 

Many businesses downtown have adjusted by providing to-go or pickup only orders to limit in-person contact. 

Bethany DuCharme works at Lakota Coffee and said she's felt the impact of people coming back to the college town. 

"Definitely over the past two weeks, it's continued to get busier. You can kind of tell that there's a shift of students coming back and families helping moving in apartments and definitely freshman coming in for moving in the dorms," DuCharme said. 

She said Lakota has worked to accommodate this surge of people that they haven't seen in a while. MU closed its campus back in March due to the pandemic, which meant many students returned to their hometowns earlier than normal.

"We've added another person for each shift, to help even out the busyness." said, DuCharme. 

There are some students, like Salimatou Diablo, who have been in town throughout the summer. He said it wasn't what he expected.

"I heard summers in Columbia are really fun, but then I got here and it was COVID, and there was literally no one here," Diablo said. 

Diablo also works as a barista at Shortwave Coffee downtown and she said she's also noticed business pick up recently. 

"Now, it's getting super busy and our boss is enforcing masks even if we're just by ourselves, just because so many more people are coming in," Diablo said.

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