Norman Businesses Optimistic After OU Announces Return To In-Person Classes

Wednesday, March 3rd 2021, 5:22 pm
By: Hunter McKee

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Students will return to in-person classes this fall semester on the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus. 

This could be promising for hundreds of Norman restaurants and shops after several in the area said this last year has been difficult.

“Economically, it’s really been a tough year,” said Jeff Stewart, manager of O’Connell’s. “It’s been tough for all of us down here. Overall in sales for 2020, I was down roughly 42%.”

Campus Corner relies heavily on students and employees from the university. However, with many classes being moved online, the campus has seen less traffic.

“I don’t think most of us could survive another year of it,” said Jerry Hatter, owner of Balfour of Norman. “So, it’s really important that we get going again and get everything back to as normal as possible.”

They took a step closer to normalcy after OU officials announced their plan to resume all in-person classes at regular capacity beginning this August.

“There’s going to be so many right across the street,” said Stewart. “The students are all going to be over there.”

But this isn't great news to everyone. Some students think it's too early to make this decision.

“I definitely think they could have afforded to wait until closer to the end of the year,” said Braden Woods, an OU student.

University officials said this is still a work in progress, and they'll provide updates in the coming months.