COVID-19

Small business owners are still concerned about the economy

Jasmine Garsd Aug 11, 2020
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As COVID-19 cases spike and fall, small business owners are feeling uncertain about the future. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Small business owners are still concerned about the economy

Jasmine Garsd Aug 11, 2020
Heard on:
As COVID-19 cases spike and fall, small business owners are feeling uncertain about the future. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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The National Federation of Independent Businesses releases its small business confidence report Tuesday. 

In June, small businesses were more optimistic about the economy because states were starting to reopen. But now, some businesses say they are still struggling.

Christina Blanch owns Aw Yeah, a comic book store in Muncie, Indiana, that’s open for business. Back when the pandemic started in March, she said she was pretty worried. She’s still concerned.

“Some days, I’m like, this is not gonna work. We should just cut our losses and stop now,” she said.

Small businesses, like Blanch’s, add up to big business for the economy, according to Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Business School.

“Without a robust small business economy, we can’t envision any kind of meaningful recovery,” Cohen said.

He said there needs to be a more comprehensive stimulus package to help those businesses stay afloat.

Back in Indiana, Blanch is determined.

“I will not go down without a fight,” she said. “I have put everything that I have in this business.”

She said she isn’t getting much foot traffic at her store. Most of her sales, for the moment, are online.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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