Small Businesses During Quarantine


Economics during a pandemic. Original Artwork by: Toby Hodne.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 44% of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Essentially, GDP is the total amount of revenue generated throughout a country. Because of this, small businesses are essential to America. They represent freedom as one can independently own and control a business all one’s own. Small businesses also prevent many families from starving or losing their homes.

Since small businesses account for roughly half of the money America makes, having a worldwide pandemic that keeps people inside would surely ruin the economy. That is exactly what is happening right now. Since people are unable to go to stores and shop like they used to, many small businesses are forced to close down, and some are just barely able to stay afloat. Although small businesses have been taking measures to ensure safety for themselves and their customers, many people have stopped shopping at small businesses altogether, only purchasing essential goods from superstores that can ship goods quickly and cheaply. This can cause small businesses to stray away from their original ideals. For example, instead of always using fresh ingredients, they may use frozen ingredients to save money. Although the U.S. has started providing stimulus checks for all citizens 18 and over who are now unemployed, these funds cannot last forever. 

Unemployment rates across the country have skyrocketed. Orange County went from having an unemployment rate of 2.9% to a shocking 14.7% in May of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St.Louis. Although this result was expected with the nationwide shutdown, it is still an enormous decrease in such a short time. 

In September of this year, unemployment rates in Huntington Beach have gone down to 9.9%, showing improvement in the economy as the nation reopens. As shelter in place restrictions have been slowly lifting, people are able to go out more and buy from local businesses. Currently trending is the hashtag #TakeOutTuesday. This is meant to encourage customers to get takeout food from small restaurants, allowing them to earn money to support their own families, pay rent, and pay their employees. Farmers’ markets also have been doing well. There are specific rules such as, “You touch it, you buy it” to ensure the safety of customers. There are also hand sanitizer dispensers spread out throughout the market. Many large farms were not able to sell their products because small businesses, their primary clients, were closed. Their products, such as milk (which many companies had to dump), were going to waste. 

The main issue facing these small businesses is lack of revenue. So how can YOU help? You can go out to small restaurants and participate in #TakeOutTuesday. Also, if you can, go to local farmers’ markets for your produce. Although it may be a bit more expensive, your support may help feed a struggling family.

Overall, in order to help support small businesses in our community, try to go to businesses that you have not seen commercials for, or safely go out on an adventure to find a new favorite restaurant.