COVID-19’s effect on small businesses in Jacksonville

Jade Coats, Staff Writer

Social distancing restrictions forcefully push small businesses to struggle staying open. Surveys taken at Harvard University show the number of active business owners plummeted by 3.3 million from February to April 2020. 

With guidelines stating people can’t sit inside a restaurant or bars, many smaller food businesses are getting less business or are temporarily closed. Some businesses, however, have found ways around this issue.

The Soap Co. Coffee House in Jacksonville has its doors open to pick-up orders and walk-in business with proper social distancing and masks worn. When the doors were open during Covid, they were amazing about cleaning tables and chairs after people left, and there were products for people to wipe down the tables themelves after use. This is one way that a small business such as Soap Co. could still get good business during this time. 

Many small businesses are staying optimistic during Covid-19. The survey showed that over 50 percent of small businesses believe it will take around six months to a year for business to return fully back to normal. However, a little under 10 percent believe it will never go back to normal. A few business owners even claim that they’ve struggled with “record-low sales, record-high layoffs and a six-month forecast that is anything but certain.”  However, the social distancing guidelines aren’t the only problem. With rising fear for Americans, many people stay home and don’t go to small businesses at all anymore. This, of course, will heavily affect the businesses, especially ones that are already financially struggling.

Jacksonville resident and JHS sophomore, Allaina Lawless says that she’s seen many changes in small businesses. “The ones I’ve been to on the square are mainly pick up orders now, and there’s always social distancing markers on the floors. From what I’ve personally seen, I can see the smaller businesses in Jacksonville are hitting the guidelines better than even the larger ones, and I wish they’d get more business. It’s a shame that Covid has such a negative effect on the smaller businesses of this town.” 

Although Covid is a constant problem in 2020, small businesses in Jacksonville have handled it well by both following the guidelines and finding ways to promote their business. People should support small businesses while social distancing and always wearing a mask to show support for the town and its citizens.