The initial round of business and school closings at the beginning of the pandemic caught everyone by surprise. As local and state governments altered regulations to slow the spread of Covid-19, many small business owners found themselves unexpectedly shuttered. As hospitalizations ramp up during the winter months, many areas are seeing additional business closures. What do new state closures mean for your small business? How can you remain viable and continue to serve your clients as the pandemic enters a new phase?
Each state governor has broad discretion to respond to the pandemic in the way they think fit. This means that coronavirus measures have varied widely across the country. Some governors enacted curfews and business closures relatively early on, while others have taken a more hands-off approach.
Most state governments and local health departments now require small businesses to comply with added health precautions to stay open. These can include:
- Mask-wearing for employees and patrons
- Additional sanitizing of waiting rooms and workspaces
- Social distancing for customers
- Daily temperature and symptom checks for employees (and sometimes patrons)
Can adhering strictly to these protocols help you avoid new state closures?
While complying with best practices will ultimately help keep the caseload smaller, in the short run, it probably won’t stop additional business closures. This map details which states are tightening or loosening restrictions.
Small Business Solutions
In the spring, the CARES Act was passed to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It included the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is administered by the Small Business Association. If you’re a small business owner, you will very likely qualify for some relief from this government program.
At this writing, it’s unclear whether or not a second Federal aid package that includes help for small business owners will be forthcoming, there are things you can do to protect your business during this trying time.
Some state and local governments are offering loan and grant programs to help businesses limp through the pandemic, though funds are often limited. Like policies regarding curfews, stay-at-home orders, and state closures, relief measures are largely at the discretion of each state’s legislature and the governor and vary widely. You can take a look at the measures different states have implemented here to see what might be available in your area.
Understanding the maze of different federal, state, and local efforts to help small and mid-sized businesses can often feel like an additional burden on an already-stressful year. Small business owners should know, however, that keeping businesses afloat is a key priority for governments on every level. You can view our free guide to find out which relief measures are applicable to you.
Though relief from the pandemic is on the horizon, small businesses likely face more state closures throughout the coming winter. Small business financing will continue to be more important than ever. Pairing your financing opportunities with the local, state, and federal aid available to you will help you weather these times and emerge ready to face the future.