Retail and restaurant industries face the economic brunt of Covid-19


BUSINESS CLOSURES. Throughout the pandemic, few things have been affected quite like restaurants and retail stores. Whether a local bar or a nationwide chain of stores, the past few months have been disastrous for all kinds of businesses. Closures around the country have been rampant, but anyone can help by supporting their favorite local businesses.Pictured here is one of the many closed JC Penney stores across the country. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons.

   Since March 2020, hundreds of thousands of businesses, both local and national, have faced closures.  From restaurants to retail stores, the effect of COVID-19 on all businesses has been massive.  According to data from Yelp, 160,000 businesses have closed since March, and roughly half of those are shut down permanently.

   Yelp’s data displays that “The restaurant industry continues to be among the most impacted… totalling 32109 closures [by the end of August]” and “retail and shopping follows closely behind restaurants with 30,374 total business closures.”  Although all industries have been impacted at least slightly, these two areas were affected much more heavily than others.  

   Similarly, a study from the United States National Academy of Sciences found that in April, out of 5,800 small businesses surveyed, 43 percent had temporarily closed.  In both the retail and restaurant industries, unemployment rates rose by up to 50 percent.     

   Nationally, some well-known businesses have been hit extremely hard.  Most notably, department store JCPenney was one of the first to make nationwide news, declaring bankruptcy in May.  Similarly, department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Stein Mart also have filed for bankruptcy in the past few months. 

   A report on the study from WLWT explains that businesses in Cincinnati have followed suit.  According to the Yelp study, 752 restaurants have closed due to the pandemic nearly half of which are closing permanently.  Downtown, restaurants have seen very little customer activity, and plenty have had to close either temporarily or permanently.

   Although all businesses have been affected drastically over the course of this year, there are some ways that any citizen and consumer can help.  Supporting local stores by safely shopping or helping local restaurants by ordering carry-out, although just a small action, can make a real difference. (For some of my favorite local businesses, check out the list below.)

  • With a menu full of sandwiches, burgers, and salads, Fond: Lunch and Deli offers carryout and online ordering options for lunch.
  • Similarly, Balance Cafe has plenty of healthy lunch options and outstanding smoothies with similar online ordering options.
  • Durum Grill also offers incredible Mediterranean food with both takeout and delivery available.