COVID-19 and small businesses

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COVID-19 safety regulations have hit small businesses hard. With the safety and health of others at risk, COVID-19 has drastically shifted the way businesses are operated. The experience of going out with friends and family has completely changed.

Alma Baez owns Magic Beauty Salon in Manteca. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it new considerations for her business due to the strict regulations she has to follow to ensure the safety of the community.

Businesses reopening in the pandemic have to cut hours, and follow strict rules that cause labor effort to decrease “Now that we opened, we have to work maybe 40 percent when we used to work 100 percent. We have to keep our distance, we have to only do appointments, we cannot take walk-ins, we have to wash our hands constantly. It’s just a lot of changes. It’s a lot of stress,” said Baez.

Restaurants and bars are two types of businesses that have had to make the biggest changes to their operation. 

“Because the County is presently in Tier 1 of the Blueprint, Bars, Pubs, Brewpubs, and Breweries are permitted to continue outdoor service of alcohol only when it is served with a ‘sit-down dine-in meal,’” reads a San Joaquin County Public Health Services order  from Aug. 31.

On top of the stress of losing customers and time to public health lockdowns, the restrictions potentially mean a decrease in income as businesses may now be unable to offer services they once did.

On July 29, CDPH provided a COVID-19 Industry Guidance for hair salon and barbershops. “Services that cannot be performed with face coverings on both the worker and customer or that require touching the customer’s face,” reads the CDPH guidelines.

Small business owners are taking a bigger hit than big chain businesses for many factors. One being that, although locally owned, that does not mean well known. Because of this, financial struggle has grown even more. So much as to the point of being able to keep their business running. Earlier this summer the U.S. Small Business Administration administered a federal Paycheck Protection Program that was designed to help keep small businesses financially stable. 

“The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll,” reads SBA. 

This loan expired early August, however.

COVID has impacted small businesses really badly, and there is unfortunately not a lot of help for small businesses.said Baez. 

Although it may not seem like it, COVID-19 affects everyone one way or another. There has been an urge on all social media to support local and small businesses to not only keep someone’s family financially stable, but to also simply help grow the community.

“I think the governor should help the small businesses more. Small businesses have little employees, like three, four employees. Based on that they give you small amounts of money or loans to help you but it’s not a lot. It’s not enough. It’s pretty bad for small businesses, said Baez.