Last time we looked at the essential workers that stayed on the job throughout the epidemic but have been ignored and even penalized for continuing to work while other people received all the government benefits. We are going to look at how small businesses, both private brands, and franchises, have been ignored through this epidemic and how they, too, were affected. It may seem challenging to think of them both on the same line, but this will show you if it is a chain.
A couple of examples of chain restaurants would be Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse. These big chain restaurants stayed open but changed how they provided their services by switching to only pickup and delivery. They furloughed some employees like servers, dishwashers, and hosts but retained kitchen staff and continued to operate.
Mom and pop restaurants had to do the same, but usually, after they furloughed some employees, they filled the necessary work with current family members doing more and absorbing the loss in traffic. These are truly small businesses, and they also tried to stay open by changing the way they provided services. They had to adjust to doing deliveries or pickups. As with chain restaurants, there was no longer a need for servers, bellhops, hosts, or dishwashers, so they were all put on leave, and families did that work. Some restaurants shut down entirely during the epidemic, and many of these never reopened.
Places like bowling alleys, movie theatres, and attractions that didn’t open back up caused a reduction in traffic in the area. They created the need to find new services and entertainment. This affected small businesses such as car sales and repairs, body shops, and even small private service providers. A few privately owned businesses affected were taxi services, private medical providers like (dentists, hearing, visual), and privately owned gas stations, mini-marts. People stayed home because of the epidemic. Demand for their services decreased, or people were too scared to come out, so they postponed needed care. This put a damper on their business incomes, and owners still had to pay all of their business expenses.
Now, many small businesses that did not permanently close are trying to reopen like they were before. Still, they cannot get their staff to return because of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) aid. The cost of goods and services such as food and utilities has also significantly increased, making it harder for businesses to profit.
So how do we help the prices of food and services to go back down so that small businesses can afford to hire employees? Just as importantly, how do we convince all the potential employees to return to work?