Local Businesses Report on Impact of Pandemic

By SLNext
In Uncategorized
Sep 13th, 2021
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NOTE: Due to a technical error, several San Leandro Next posts published between June 30 and August 24, 2021 were deleted. We have been able to recover the content and are making it available again. This post was previously published on August 7, 2021.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been extraordinarily hard on businesses – in particular small businesses. Due to shelter-in-place orders, businesses have had to make hard choices in order to survive, including employee layoffs, reduced hours, reduced services offered, deferred rent payments, and more. Less fortunate businesses have closed permanently.

This June, we reached out to businesses through the San Leandro COVID-19 Business Recovery Survey to learn more about the impact of the pandemic on local businesses and what their biggest needs are going forward. The survey yielded 127 total responses from a diverse selection of businesses, from small to large, from home-based to large scale manufacturing.

Among the responses, 89% reported a negative impact of the pandemic. 85% of respondents have 10 or fewer employees. 52% were woman-, veteran-, or LGBTQ+-owned. 62.7% of responding businesses were owned by an individual with a race other than white, 31% where Caucasian-owned, and 6.3% declined to state.

The most common impact among respondents was loss of revenue (76%), followed by reduced customer demand (63%), temporary closures (50%), and staff layoffs (24%). 22% of respondents report that they are behind on rent, some of them owing in excess of $50,000.

Efforts have been made on all levels of government to support businesses, with survey respondents reporting receiving assistance from most of the available relief programs, most commonly the Paycheck Protection Plan, unemployment assistance, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and State or City small business grants.

Overall in San Leandro, over 1,600 San Leandro businesses received assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided forgivable cash loans to help businesses retain employees and cover operational expenses. Over 1,400 San Leandro businesses received an Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), which is a business loan through the Small Business Association with low interest rates.

Over 600 San Leandro businesses received California COVID-19 Small Business Grants and 44 restaurants received grants from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund. In total, over $414 million has been distributed to San Leandro businesses via State or Federal programs to date.

The City of San Leandro was also able to facilitate $1.68 million in small business grants, $800,000 of which came from the City’s General Fund, $830,000 came from Alameda County’s CARES Act funds, and $50,000 of which was donated by East Bay Community Energy. A total of 336 San Leandro businesses were awarded $5,000 grants to support their operations during the pandemic.

While many San Leandro businesses have received assistance, 23% of survey respondents reported receiving no relief at all. The year 2020 saw a total of 175 reported permanent business closures in San Leandro, the majority of which were small businesses with ten or fewer employees. These closures impacted an estimated 775 owners and employees.

Even for those who have received some assistance, with the continuance of the pandemic and high costs of rent, overhead and staffing, their needs continue.  Nearly 70% of survey respondents reported a need for further small business grants in order to continue operating, and 44% reported a need for assistance in applying for financial relief.

Look for more details on proposed business assistance utilizing American Rescue Plan Act funds, to be proposed to the City Council this fall.

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