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Localizing the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses

March 20, 2020

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As Americans practice social distancing, many businesses have temporarily closed. (Photo of a woman wearing a mask by Pille-Riin Priske via Unsplash)

With Coronavirus spreading across the U.S. and around the world, the pandemic could have serious economic implications over the next several months or years, not to mention the loss of life. Many towns and cities have gone on lockdown, and some businesses in other areas have closed temporarily as a precaution. How are local businesses faring and what’s their outlook for the future?

Here’s a look at three angles to consider.

Smaller service providers

Professionals who serve the events or travel industries may be particularly hard hit by cancelled conferences and more limited travel. What are they doing with their downtime? Are there any local fundraisers to help them stay afloat? For instance, after SXSW in Austin, Texas was cancelled, the city’s creative class banded together to create a fundraiser for musicians and others who lost gigs.

Small business loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19

While many restaurants and some retailers are now operating with curbside pickup or takeout orders only, other businesses have closed completely. The longer they stay closed, the harder it will be make payroll and stay afloat, so the Small Business Administration has launched a special loan program for businesses impacted. Facebook has offered $100 million in small business grants. What’s available for small businesses in your area? Are small business owners also accumulating credit card debt or tapping into retirement accounts as they wait this out?

Cyber-security implications of working from home

As companies frantically move their workforce online, have they taken extra precautions against hackers who may view this time as an opportunity? lists 60 professors with expertise in cybersecurity, so perhaps one of them could share insights on what small businesses should be doing to protect themselves.

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