Tag: COVIDs

How to Help Small Businesses Survive COVID’s Next Phase

America small-business owners moved quickly when COVID-19 started shuttering shops in March. Fine dining restaurants shifted to takeout. Book shops introduced curbside pickup. Gyms offered classes online.

Business owners, it seemed, just needed to face this once-in-a-lifetime calamity and get through a few months, when normalcy would resume. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—government-funded forgivable loans designed to help businesses pay their employees—would help them weather the storm.

Six months later, there’s still no end in sight to the pandemic and no easy answers for small-business owners trying to survive. Strict safety protocols haven’t been enough to get customers through the door for some small businesses, and many owners—crushed by inventory and overhead costs—are grappling with hard choices.

“This is the worst small-business crisis of my lifetime, and I’ve seen a number of tough moments,” says Karen G. Mills, senior fellow at Harvard Business School. “I’m quite concerned that we haven’t

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COVID’s suffocating grasp is choking businesses in Cambridge’s Central Square

“I’m wondering whether or not I can survive,” he said last week. “Right now I’m just hoping and praying.”

Adelson has a lot of company in his worries. Central Square, home to an eclectic array of shops, and before the pandemic, a bustling restaurant and nightlife scene, is in many ways emblematic of the devastation the coronavirus has wrought on small businesses across the region and country — and of the way the virus’s suffocating grasp has spread into the most vibrant neighborhoods.

“We’re all worried,” said Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui recently of what kind of Central Square will emerge from the pandemic.

Date spot Cuchi Cuchi called it quits in May after 19 years. The Field, a popular, no-frills Irish pub on Prospect Street, made it 25 years before closing in July.

Customers browse at Rodney's Book Store, which has been in the square for 20 years and will close on Oct. 31.
Customers browse at Rodney’s Book Store, which has been in the square for 20 years and will
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