The sudden onset of the coronavirus and the swift reaction by local, state and Federal governments in the United States has had crippling effects on small businesses. The seriousness of the virus coupled with the abundance of caution the is necessary has caused the shutdown of all non-essential businesses. These unexpected measures have resulted in tens of thousands of Americans sitting home without work with no clear timetable for a return to life as we once knew it.
Small business owners have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus – by far. Businesses that were thriving now literally have no customers. Their doors are closed and their employees are quarantined in their homes. Restaurants, theaters, and bars are empty; payroll, rent, utilities, and mortgages are going unpaid; and small business owners are left with a shattered mess where once a flourishing, profitable business once stood.
The reports on local news stations paint a grim picture and have impacted the morale of the people – the same people who were and are the lifeblood of small businesses. With no phones ringing, no customers in the store and the government and media delivering nothing but grim despair on a minute by minute basis, small business owners are pinching pennies and wondering where their next dollar is coming from.
Some businesses are thriving
On the other side of the coin, certain businesses have realized an uptick in business. One business’s loss is another’s gain. Here are some small businesses that are thriving despite this coronavirus pandemic precautions that have been implemented at state and local levels:
Doctors are seeing more patients now than ever before. Citizens are taking this virus seriously and are visiting their doctor to be tested for coronavirus if testing is available.
Supermarkets & Convenient stores
Supermarkets & convenient stores are selling out of cleaning products, toilet paper, canned goods, and non-perishable items at a record pace.
Paving is considered an essential service in many cities and companies that pave streets and sidewalks are still in business and thriving.
Drive-up coronavirus testing centers are ordering signs by the hundreds and sign makers are scrambling to meet the demands.
Auto repair shops
Vehicles need to be repaired and auto mechanics are working to meet this growing need despite the concerns of the coronavirus.
Homeowners who have frozen pipes, clogged toilets and the like still need these issues addressed and plumbers are fielding calls from citizens who continue to have these ongoing needs.
Hauling cargo cross-country has increased due to the rapid purchase of supermarket inventory and online purchases.
Medicine is always needed and it is especially in demand due to coronavirus infection concerns. Pharmacies are overloaded with people right now filling prescriptions and taking precautions to protect their health.
Builders are breaking ground and both homes and commercial structures continue to go up. Workers are taking precautions by not taking communal lunches together and are not working side by side as in the past, but construction continues to thrive in spite of coronavirus concerns.
Just as with logistics, trucking companies are in business and thriving, hauling freight and making deliveries on – and ahead of – schedule.
Accountants are in the middle of their high season and remain busy as ever. They have not seen much – if any – interruption in business.
Businesses that have been negatively affected
The paralyzing restrictions placed upon small businesses have ground operations to a halt and devastated their owners. Social distancing has required that citizens avoid contact and only leave their homes if it is essential. This has literally paralyzed small businesses nationwide, turning what used to be bustling cities into ghost towns. Below are the hardest-hit small businesses:
The hospitality industry is essentially closed. People are staying at home and not staying in hotels.
Travel is being kept to a minimum and airplanes now have no more than 50 passengers at a time, if that. Travel has understandably taken a firm backseat to safety.
The entire city of Las Vegas is closed and the Atlantic City casinos are also closed down out of an abundance of caution.
This goes hand in hand with the hotel business. Laundry services have had to lay off employees since there are no sheets, etc, to wash given the sharp decline in hotel guests.
People are working out at home since gyms are a fertile breeding ground for the coronavirus.
Real estate companies
Open houses and house showings have been shut down until further notice so as to discourage large groups of people from coming into contact with one another. Open houses and showings are the lifeblood of the real estate industry, and this development has halted real estate sales like nothing the industry has ever seen.
Evictions have stayed pending the resolution of the coronavirus. Tenants that are behind in their rent have a temporary stay in place until further notice.
Foreclosing LendersSimilar to landlords, all foreclosure proceedings have stayed until further notice. Homeowners who were facing homelessness have additional time to consider their options while we deal with the coronavirus.
Restaurants & Bars
These industries are the hardest hit, as restaurants are relegated to take-out and deliveries only. Bars are completely shut down and are not operating at all. These industries are suffering the most and the effects they feel may be permanent.
Their effects upon small businesses vary and circumstances will dictate whether they will sink or swim. While some businesses thrive, others are suffering devastating consequences from which they may never recover. Only time will tell how far-reaching the impact of the coronavirus ultimately is, and the best we can do as a people and a nation is to band together and support one another during this challenging and unchartered period in our history.