Yesterday, the Senate passed a new bipartisan stimulus package that allocates over $300 billion for small business aid. For many businesses, the money can’t come soon enough. The $349 billion allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program in the last stimulus package ran out in weeks. Many small businesses didn’t apply in time, and many that did are in limbo as they wait for the money to arrive. As funds get tighter, many of these businesses are forced to confront big existential questions.
Uli Nasibova is the owner of Gelateria Uli, which has two locations in downtown Los Angeles. She’s got a lot on her mind as she faces the daily challenges of the pandemic and looks down the uncertain road ahead. Her stores are open for pickup and delivery, but she struggles to find the balance between protecting employees and protecting jobs.
“My job, as I see it, is to say ‘I’m giving you the hours regardless of business being able to bring in the revenue or not, because of GoFundMe/ government assistance,'” Nasibova said. “So what do I do when people say, ‘I don’t want to get my family member sick. It is irresponsible of me to go into work right now.’ I can’t force people work. And I’m not going to.”
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COVID-19 Economy FAQs
How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?
Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.
How are Americans feeling about their finances?
Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.
Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.
What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?
A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.
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