In March, the National Association of Restaurants predicted 14% of stores to close in the following month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Then Business Insider reported 3000 stores were slated to close this year on top of the 12,000 predicted last year.
Although automation and online sales threatened retail’s survival prior to COVID reaching the US, the pandemic accelerated and augmented many more closures. Statewide shutdowns to prevent viral spread and slow reopenings that mandated less patrons and social distancing is taking its toll on businesses. Less volume means less revenue, and mandates to reduce customer volume is preventing companies from making a profit, let alone breaking even.
While millions of business still remain shuttered, losing money each day, eyes have been on the companies who have been allowed to reopen with hopes they can jumpstart the economy. However, optimism for future solvency is waning as the country watches them struggle. Deterring clients breaks every rule in business doctrine but is now the new normal in hopes of satisfying social distancing requirements.
Companies who had to temporarily close are contemplating ever reopening. Some however are considering bankruptcy or plan to permanently close some of their stores, salons or restaurants. These include:
- JC Penney
- Niemen Marcus
- Gap Inc
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Forever 21
- Victoria’s Secret
- SSM Health
- Sweet Tomatoes
- Outback Steakhouse
- Steak ‘N Shake
- Bravo Italian Mediterranean
- Pizza Hut
- McCormick and Schmick
- Red Robin
- Marie Calendars
- and more
Neighborhood markets, salons, medical offices, rural hospitals and pharmacies and others couldn’t be listed here as they are too numerous to count.
Congress tried to bail out many small businesses with CARE ACT funding, which will provide much needed relief, but its temporary. With no end in sight to the new regulations and low customer volume, many businesses will not be able to hold out.
It takes more than money to keep a business alive. Hope, work culture, employee ambition and customer faith are necessities for a company’s survival. For us to get these back, COVID-19, or our fear of it, will need to disappear.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.