COVID-19 BUSINESS WIPEOUT

While there are many businesses in the Bronx who are successfully getting back on their feet after being hit by COVID-19, there are many other businesses that weren’t so lucky. Some business owners in the Bronx had no choice but to close their doors after the severe negative impact covid caused.

            When the pandemic initially began, businesses owners were forced to close without necessarily knowing when they were ever going to open again.  Since then, business owners in the Bronx have continuously struggled to keep their businesses afloat throughout this entire pandemic.

            Local Business employees were afraid of what was next to come. One of these employees would be Alberto Luis Perez. Perez lives in the Fordham Area of the Bronx since he initially moved here from Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Prior to the pandemic Perez, worked in “La lechonera” a fairly new Latin restaurant conveniently in the same area he lives in. Unfortunately, after only being open for about 6 months, due to the pandemic the restaurant was forced to close for good, leaving Perez officially unemployed.

            “It was just starting to get good, more and more people were coming every day. Then COVID happened and that was it. We opened back up for a little while but, we weren’t there for that long. We weren’t making any money, and things had to get paid. Little by little everyone just stopped showing up and our boss stopped opening the place. Like a month later, He (The boss) told us he was going to keep it closed or longer because of all the bills piling up” says Perez.

            It’s Months later, “La Lechonera” has yet to reopen its doors. This is simply one business amongst many other businesses, that didn’t necessarily survive the negative effects of the pandemic.

Prior to the virus, The Bronx was already not the wealthiest place to live. Living conditions in the Bronx aren’t technically always ideal, where a large percentage of New Yorkers live in crowded low-income homes with large sized families. Since the Bronx is so crowded, it made covid relations very difficult, causing covid cases to increase. As the number of positive cases in the state began to rise, unemployment rates rapidly followed after the closing of all businesses.

An article by the Consumer News and business Channel (CNBC) analyzes yelp data where it proves that over 60% of businesses closed due to the pandemic will no longer be opening back up. It reveals that through a six-month period the number of businesses that were permanently closed reached a 97,966 showing an increase of 34% since July.

Another small business that didn’t survive the pandemic would be KattsColors. Kathleen Burgos, is the owner of KattsColors where she mostly sells handmade resin tools, accessories, necklaces, earrings, shot glasses and more. Burgos’ was forced to close her small business when international mail was interrupted by the virus.

When packages weren’t able to be delivered from China, it was very difficult for Burgos to fulfill any incoming orders.

“I had costumers complaining about when their orders were coming. For some time, people were being understanding of the shipping situation due to the virus being fairly new but, then weeks went by and people still didn’t receive their orders. I’m in a whole different country so it’s not like I was able to do anything about it but sit and wait, I was just stuck. I finished the orders I could, but the ones I couldn’t do were adding on and on” Says Burgos.

Weeks went on and life for Burgo’s had to go on and she still had hopes for her business. She was forced to pay more focus to her job and school which she now had to give in much more time to, unfortunately causing her to need to push her business to the side and stop taking orders completely.

She mentions how she plans to at some point get to her business, but right now it’s overwhelming.  For the time being she chooses to dedicate majority of her time to school and her everyday work until she feels she is stable enough to run her business again.

As a whole COVID-19 greatly negatively impacted many small businesses, some more than others. As there were many businesses that continue to successfully get back on their feet, a large percentage wasn’t so luck and had to close their businesses permanently. “La Lechonera” and “KatsColors” were simply two small businesses out of the 60% of businesses that no longer will open their doors again after initially closing in 2020. Showing that more than half of the businesses that initially closed for what we thought was temporary, had to close for good causing unemployment rates to increase rapidly.



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