Pandemic Recovery and Small Business Optimism: Is There A Roadmap Forward?

Small Businesses and the effect of the covid-19 pandemic
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By LeeAnn Sherman

The COVID-19 pandemic reached its first anniversary in early 2021 with a devastating global impact. Loved ones were gone, workers lost jobs, and small businesses were forced to close. 

By the end of 2020, 9-million small businesses were threatened with closure with questions looming about their survival. To address these potentially catastrophic consequences, the U.S. has administered millions of vaccine shots in the hopes of getting people back to work. President Biden also signed a $1.9 trillion federal stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan that includes federal aid to small businesses, 

Lastly, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an attempt to prevent financial market disaster. All of this in an attempt to reduce COVID-related morbidity, provide stimulus checks to support Americans and boost their household spending, and prevent market vulnerability.

The Small Business Recovery Process

The good news is that many states have businesses that are considered pandemic-proof. According to an 2021 assessment by the consumer credit firm WalletHub, it was discovered that Pennsylvania had the distinction of being the state with the highest potential for business recovery. It was followed by Arkansas, Missouri, and North Dakota. 

Alternatively, Nevada, Hawaii, and Montana scored the lowest with the smallest potential for recovery, according to a recent study conducted by WalletHub.

Charting The Future

Despite cautious optimism, questions remain regarding the outlook for some small businesses as the U.S. administers vaccinations, rolls out stimulus packages, and moves into a potential bull market as businesses and communities reopen. As noted by Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst;

“Small businesses have a very positive outlook moving forward, largely because states are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine and rolling back restrictions as a result. Vaccination, combined with additional aid for small businesses in the most recent stimulus, declining COVID-19 cases, and warmer weather, should result in greater business revenue in the coming months. Due to this increased revenue, businesses will be able to step up their hiring” 

With the flurry of vaccinations being administered during Q1 2021, the trajectory moving forward appears to bring a sense of normalcy to many people. 

Says Gonzalez; 

“The worst of the pandemic is behind us, and once businesses fully reopen, they should expect a boom in the coming years as a result of the pent-up demand from consumers. Pent-up demands from consumers could start with loved ones enjoying meals in local restaurants again, family vacations embracing the hospitality sector, and consumers hitting the local malls enjoying shopping, movies, and boutique cafes.” 

The notion of herd immunity and the reduction of isolation brings some promise to small businesses and communities as people look forward to getting back to their regular routines, a closer sense of unity with loved ones, and small enterprises reopen again. 

It has been a long and devastating year as the world starts to recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The slow recovery will reduce isolation and allow businesses and communities to reopen and begin to thrive again. WalletHub encourages states to embrace and support small businesses as they begin to repair, reopen, and restore their operations. This process will likely take many years to overcome, but the focus on rebuilding and ending the isolation should result in a much-needed repair to our local communities.

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