End the duopoly

Small business has defined U.S. economy, but pandemic could change that forever

An empty outdoor seating area at the closed Franciscan Crab Restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is seen in late April. In Fort Worth, Stacy Dockins instructs her husband, Dave Dockins, as they practice for an online yoga class at their home. The pandemic has forced to take their business online only. The coronavirus pandemic is emerging as an existential threat to the nation’s small businesses — despite Congress approving a historic $700 billion to support them — with the potential to further diminish the place of small companies in the American economy. The White House and Congress have made saving small businesses a linchpin of the financial rescue, even passing a second stimulus for them late last month. But already, economists project that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the pandemic escalated in March, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. Their latest data suggests that at least 2% of small businesses are gone, according to a survey conducted Saturday to Monday. The rate is higher in the restaurant industry, where 3% of restaurant operators have gone out of businesses, according to the […]

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