As Los Angeles County enters its ninth month of COVID-19 restrictions, many business owners enter their ninth month of declining profits. The county should allocate money for a new stimulus bill to be given out to all of the businesses because of the financial hardships that come with the newly revised regulations and the country should reinstate the paycheck protection program (PPP).
Since the inception of the novel coronavirus pandemic, businesses were required to buy personal protective equipment, sanitizers and in many cases, professional cleaning crews. The health department has demanded the creation of sanitation stations that are costly for any business owner, no matter how grand or small a business might be.
Although necessary for the well being of society, with all of these new required expenses, how are businesses expected to pay their mortgage, utilities, vendors and especially their employees? In fact, many business owners have been forced to fire their beloved employees in order to free up money in their budgets. No employer would fire a great employee, so when there is a lack of capital, many smaller businesses do not have a financial relief net to fall back on and in turn are forced to let go of not only their valued employees, which often includes family and friends.
Before the new lockdown order in December, restaurants began creating outdoor seating patios with space heaters for their guests. A standard commercial patio heater costs $300 or more! Most businesses needed to buy three or four, in which the total could come out to over a thousand dollars. They also had to finance the expansion and construction of new outdoor seating areas, which in most cases was their parking lot, taking away space from the spots in which valued customers could use.
For the purpose of social distancing, restaurants are no longer able to host happy hours and have to make pre-mixed drinks to-go. Their creativity has come into play to develop new menus designed for takeout, new ways of advertisement and even websites for online ordering. With the new revised restrictions that have gone into effect in the past weeks, restaurants are no longer able to accommodate any dine-in patrons and can only deliver or sell for takeout.
Furthermore, the PPP has been discontinued since August 2020, this being one of the few programs that created a financial net for many small businesses. Through the PPP–among other requirements–business owners with less than five hundred employees would be eligible to receive federal funds in order to help pay for payroll and other essential expenses during the struggle of the pandemic. Although this is very helpful for any small business, there are still quite a number of requirements to be met in order to apply and even then, the program has already ended.
However, what happens when an employee gets sick? The owner must take responsibility and must now quarantine the staff that was on with the infected employee. For smaller businesses, this could mean that every crew member must now be quarantined and the business cannot operate for the safety of the public. This will most-likely result in the business shutting its doors until all are well and cleared to work. Although necessary, in many cases, owners cannot afford to close down for an extended period of time because the business still has expenses to be paid, even when they are not open.
Beyond the purchasing of new equipment and the now non-existent in-person dining at restaurants, the county’s revised restrictions, that went into effect during the week of Dec. the seventh, say that all non-essential businesses must close and if they want to still have business, they must do it online.
How is it fair that all of these businesses must shut down and still pay all of their expenses? For many businesses, this could mean that they might never open again as they depend on their treasured clientele that come and go on a daily basis.
And yet, all of these financial hardships are not just showing up all of a sudden. This has been the ongoing struggle for most businesses since the beginning of the pandemic when the first lockdown went into effect for Los Angeles County back in Mar. 2020.
Edward Hairston, science teacher and track and field coach, who is also owner of New Project Designs said, “My business has survived, unlike so many other small businesses. Although we (New Project Designs) still continue to make sales and secure clients, we have seen a reduction in revenue since March (approximately 18%)”.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are detrimental to all of the business owners, who would really benefit from the financial relief of a new stimulus package. Some of these struggling business owners are in our very own Loyola community, and because of this we must all do our part as Cubs to support them by using their services or ordering from their restaurants.
Check out #dineLOYOLA and #cubs4cubs on all of the social media platforms for Loyola Highschool of Los Angeles for further details including a restaurant map of all of our Loyola alumni and family affiliated restaurants.