The COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic has caused severe economic loss across the country. Nearly 39 million people have been forced to claim unemployment benefits and millions of small business owners are in jeopardy of losing their businesses. Now, new data show that African American and Latinx businesses are not only in danger of losing their businesses but have been disproportionately denied relief loans established for the pandemic.
According to a recent nationwide survey, 45% of black and Latinx small business owners say they anticipate closing within six months due to the coronavirus outbreak. Another 41% said they were denied relief assistance when applied; 21% say they are still waiting to hear if they will receive any form of assistance. In addition, 12% of respondents said they had received the full amount of assistance they were eligible for despite over half stating they requested $20,000 or less.
The Paycheck Protection Program as well as other federal relief services have largely ignored minority communities, leaving them the most vulnerable to suffering severe economic loss due to the public health crisis.
The New York Times reported that Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, said the new survey data show that “if we don’t get policies to protect these communities, we will lose a generation of black and brown businesses, which will have deep impacts on our entire country’s economy.”
“This groundbreaking poll shows that African American and Latino small businesses—the economic engines of many cities, small towns, and communities across America—are suffering greatly but are being left out of relief efforts,” Janet Murguía, CEO and president of UnidosUS, said in a statement.
“This includes, from our own internal research, small businesses like the community-based organizations that make up the network of UnidosUS affiliates that are on-the-ground lifelines fighting to provide much-needed services while trying to stay afloat. This is simply unacceptable.
“The next stimulus and relief package must have targeted help to minority-owned businesses and nonprofits so we can save these vital enterprises.”