By far, the hardest hit segment of the economy impacted by the forced government closures mandated by various state governor executive orders over the last six months has been restaurants. According to a Yelp COVID Impact Report, 61 percent of restaurants closed during the pandemic will never reopen. Remember, these are businesses that never should have closed in the first place considering that Walmart, Target, Kroger, and hundreds of so-called ‘essential’ businesses remained open.
The obvious question that the media seems oblivious to is if social distancing and preventive measures could be implemented in the busiest of all retail establishments like Walmart, then why on earth couldn’t they have been implemented at restaurants, small businesses, and other chain stores also? In fact, they are being implemented now, months later, which proves that just like Walmart they could have been implemented six months earlier and saved thousands of businesses and jobs.
“The restaurant industry continues to be among the most impacted with an increasing number of closures – totaling 32,109 closures as of August 31, with 19,590 of these business closures indicated to be permanent (61%). Breakfast and brunch restaurants, burger joints, sandwich shops, dessert places and Mexican restaurants are among the types of restaurants with the highest rate of business closures. Foods that work well for delivery and takeout have been able to keep their closure rates lower than others, including pizza places, delis, food trucks, bakeries and coffee shops.Yelp: Local Economic Impact Report – September 2020
Yelp says that a total of 163, 735 business on Yelp have closed since the pandemic closure mandates and reopening restrictions started. Yelp focuses on restaurants, services businesses, and retail, many of which are locally owned and family-owned establishments. As one would expect, the mandates hurt these businesses very badly. In fact, according to the study, over 60 percent of all businesses that closed will never reopen. That equates to 97,966 businesses closed for good.
The last Yelp Economic Average showed a decreasing number of overall closures, 132,580 in total. As of August 31, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed since the beginning of the pandemic (observed as March 1), a 23% increase since July 10. In the wake of COVID-19 cases increasing and local restrictions continuing to change in many states we’re seeing both permanent and temporary closures rise across the nation, with 60% of those closed businesses not reopening (97,966 permanently closed).Yelp: Local Economic Impact Report – September 2020
According to the Yelp report, Hawaii, California, and Nevada have the highest rate of total closures and permanent closures. They are also the three states with the highest unemployment rates. The states with the least business restrictions, West Virginia and the Dakotas, not so coincidentally, also have the lowest closure rates. The cities with the highest number of permanent business closures also tend to be in areas where the government has been the harshest on businesses imposing full closures for the longest periods and only allowing partial reopenings. The top five states with the most businesses closed are Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas.