COVID-19 Justice

Black-owned business hit harder during the coronavirus pandemic

More than half of Black-owned businesses may not survive the next few months.

Just about every business is struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic and the massive economic upheavals it has caused. But Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard – perhaps harder than any other business classification in America.

Research by the University of California, Santa Cruz and a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that, already, 41% of Black-owned businesses have permanently closed due to the coronavirus.

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That’s a staggering number: Roughly 440,000 businesses nationwide. For comparison, only 17% of white-owned businesses closed up shop during the month of April, when the first wave of coronavirus cases was at its peak.

“I knew it would be bad, but I didn’t think it would be this devastating,” said Robert W. Fairlie, an economics professor at UC Santa Cruz, in an interview with National Geographic.

There are reasons for the disparity in effects between black-owned businesses and the general population. They’re many of same things that have resulted in the virus itself harming Black communities more than others.

A post by the Economic Policy Institute said, “the disparate racial impact of the virus is deeply rooted in historic and ongoing social and economic injustices. Persistent racial disparities in health status, access to health care, wealth, employment, wages, housing, income, and poverty all contribute to greater susceptibility to the virus—both economically and physically.”

Add to that problems with accessing emergency funding and you have a recipe for disaster.

The National Geographic article indicates help may ultimately come from the private sector, citing such things as donations from Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Netflix, and Google.

You can read the full story here.

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