Coronavirus Affects Our Health and Small Businesses

The new Coronavirus COVID-19 is having a devastating impact upon the well-being of people and businesses across the world. The virus started in China and is now hitting the U.S. According to the CDC data, nearly 40 percent of U.S. patients sick enough to be hospitalized were age 20 to 54, with over 10,600 infected. But the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.

As testing capabilities increase in the U.S., the Coronavirus cases are anticipated to grow substantially. Cities across the country are on lock-down, with shelter in place restrictions, business closings, layoffs and the U.S. stock market reaching lows not seen since 1987.

Dr. Jeffrey Sterling, MD, Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce (ILBCC) Board Member, says “Coronavirus is not an all-powerful entity that spells the end of mankind. We just have to be diligent in attacking this pandemic.” The World Health Organization’s (WHO) has provided basic protective measures against the virus that should be followed to protect ourselves, family members and communities.

“But on the other side of the Coronavirus global pandemic health challenges for people is the impact the virus is having upon small businesses — particularly black owners,” said Larry Ivory, ILBCC President. “As this pandemic continues as predicted, the devastation and loss of black businesses will be significant — catastrophic,” Ivory continued.

Most small business owners do not have unlimited spendable income to cover their overhead. Owners depend on their daily sales to sustain the business and their families.

According to a study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, on average, companies with fewer than 500 employees have less than a month of cash reserves. Smaller businesses often have just a couple of weeks worth of cash to keep operating.

After the financial crisis hit in 2008, more than 170,000 small businesses closed taking with them in excess of three million jobs. Only select large corporations received federal and state assistance in 2008; however, there was not a financial bailout for small businesses .

“We do not want to see a repeat of 2008 financial crisis outcome for small businesses in 2020,” said Ivory.

ILBCC and National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) are engaged on the state and federal levels to ensure that small black businesses across the country are not left out of financial relief strategies during this Coronavirus crisis. “Whether it is a barber shop owner, family restaurant or consulting firm, we must be the voice for black businesses. This pandemic is a national emergency. It is our job to protect black small businesses, and we’re going to work to do just that,” said Ivory.

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