All aspects of life have been disrupted and transformed since mid-March because of the global spread of the COVID-19 virus. For the past seven months, the world has been quarantined and shut down, which has affected the economy, unemployment rates and how much people go out and where. One area especially affected by COVID is small businesses.
Small businesses have had to close for long periods of time during quarantine, and some have even closed permanently. Since they are not equipped to adjust financially, the businesses end up failing. Jobs were also lost during the pandemic due to lack of employment opportunities since businesses had to close.
“The pandemic causes you to tighten your belt and sharpen your pencil,” Ian Watts, owner of SB Dream Coach, said. “The pandemic caused my business to take a hit with clientele, but when I created my business, I created it to be flexible so I could easily maneuver it. In times of panic, there are opportunities created, and if you are so caught up in the midst of panic, you will miss out on the opportunities created. There are many jobs that give these opportunities, like going into something with computers. Some of the jobs lost during the pandemic will probably be gone forever.”
Businesses fortunate enough to stay open have had to make expensive additions to cope with the changing environment of the pandemic. Shields have been added between customers and workers. Stores have had to wrap up certain item that are touched a lot, like card scanners. Even though the government has given money to business owners, in some cases it was not enough to get keep the revenue flowing.
“I have family members that own a banquet hall, and due to the pandemic, they are about to close,” Karam Taza ‘22 said. “The pandemic caused them to lose a lot, and the monthly checks the government provided to businesses does very little to help with all the changes needed. At this point, it is more beneficial to close the banquet hall rather than keep it open and keep up with the biweekly changes and regulations being added.”
The unemployment rates in America have been rising because during the pandemic, many workers have been laid off or have had to quit. This puts more pressure on owners because the lack of workers means they must work longer hours by themselves or with few employees. Many places have had to lay off their workers because they were not making enough to pay them, and other businesses had to close for good.
“The pandemic made it harder to manage our family business as things got more complicated,” Adi Naim ‘22 said. “The outbreak has required higher health code regulations to make it safer for customers and caused certain items to not be needed as much anymore. For example, my family owns a store that sells suits, called Ivan’s Suits, but because of the pandemic, suits are not needed as much anymore. Along with loss of clients, there has been a loss of employees. The store has had to fire many of the employees in order to lower risk of spreading the virus and because of the loss of money. The loss of workers means longer work hours for the few employees left. The store has taken a hard hit, but we are working on bringing it back and better than before.”