Op-Ed: Lockdowns Starve Mom and Pop

This article originally appeared on the Wall Street Journal on January 4, 2021.


The latest lockdowns across the country will be deadly for the small businesses that have endured the pandemic this far. While there are no official numbers yet, business data show significant losses. Yelp’s Local Economic Impact Report found that, from March 1 through Aug. 31, nearly 100,000 businesses listed on Yelp had closed permanently due to the pandemic, an average of more than 500 a day.


In addition to destroying the accomplishments of thousands of American entrepreneurs and the jobs they create, lockdowns are forcing retail to consolidate around large national brands, which are better positioned to survive the pandemic.


Consider restaurants, America’s second-largest source of private employment. According to the National Restaurant Association, 110,000 have permanently closed and more than 500,000 are “in an unprecedented economic decline.” In November alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, restaurants and bars lost 17,400 jobs as new state lockdowns took effect.


But while national brands lose in lockdown-happy states, many are able to compensate with revenue from their locations in places with minimal restrictions.


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