Some small businesses may not survive.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The closure of non-essential businesses to help in the fight against the coronavirus has been hard on retailers. “There are sectors, entire sectors, of the retail economy that are shut down right now. And that’s very concerning for what this is going to look like in the long run,”: says Cailey Locklair, President of the Maryland Retailers Association.
She says some of these small companies may not survive. “The longer that this goes on, I would make an argument that many of them are not going to be able to bounce back,” she says.
Last Month, Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close as a way to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, auto repair shops and liquor stores, were allowed to remain open. Some have reduced their hours of operation.
Locklair says even businesses which have remained open are operating under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to keep the spread of COVID-19 at a minimum. “It’s a been massive shift for what’s happening for those businesses that are open and taking proper precautions and listening to CDC guidance,” she says. Many of these companies have placed plastic partitions between the sales clerks and customers at the checkout counter. A lot of them have placed markers on the floor, showing customers how far they must stand away from other shoppers so that no catches COVID-19.
But for those businesses which are struggling, Locklair says a number state and federal loan and grant programs have been put in place to help these companies get through this crisis. She says information about these programs is available on the Maryland Retailers Association website, mdra.org.
She says an executive order issued by the Governor recently suspends all mortgage foreclosure and evictions from rental properties during the coronavirus emergency. “And hopefully we’re going to see a lot of flexibility with lenders,”: she says “If you don’t have revenue coming in, you can’t make those payments.”
Locklair says it’s more than just the retailers which are hurting. “This isn’t just about you and whether you’re okay or not. This impacts our society and our economy as a whole,” she says. “So the quicker we can get through this, the quicker we can get back on our feet.”
By Kevin McManus