COLUMBUS, Ind. — Business owners in downtown Columbus say they’re already seeing the impact of Cummins, Inc. bringing employees back to its offices.

This week, Cummins is in the process of bringing employees back to offices across the U.S.  In the Columbus area, that could mean up to 8,000 total workers.  However, it’s not yet clear how many employees have made the return as of Wednesday.

“Cummins’ intent is to reopen our US offices safely and flexibly as the rate of COVID-19 infection has rapidly declined in recent weeks, and vaccines are both effective and widely available. We want to provide our employees the best work environment, whether it’s in the office, hybrid or remote.”

Jon Mills, Cummins, Inc. spokesperson

Many restaurants and bars in the downtown Columbus area depend heavily on business from Cummins employees going out for lunch, dinner, or drinks after work.

Kelly Schwarze, co-owner of Fresh Take Kitchen, said her restaurant didn’t see much change on Monday.  However, things started to pick up on Tuesday.

“Yesterday, definitely an impact,” Schwarze said.  “Definitely had this area full of waiting to order, it was great to see.”

Fresh Take Kitchen closed for a full year during the pandemic.  It’s been a bleak two years since Cummins employees started working virtually.  Now, Schwarze says she’s optimistic about the future.

“We were all very happy, we were all smiling throughout lunch.  It was nice to see the fresh faces again, and hear them talking amongst each other about how they haven’t seen each other in two years.”