60% of Closed Businesses Not Reopening

These are Yelp numbers and may only loosely reflect the actual full numbers, but they're probably reasonably accurate in portraying the trend. And the toll that lockdowns and Black Lives Matter violence have inflicted on the small businesses of this battered nation.

As of Aug, 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they have closed. That’s down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. However, it actually shows a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July.

In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also takes into account the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, now reaching 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening. 

“Overall, Yelp’s data shows that business closures have continued to rise with a 34% increase in permanent closures since our last report in mid-July,” Justin Norman, vice president of data science at Yelp, told CNBC.

Considering the lockdowns and the riots, there's little surprise that businesses aren't reopening. 

Small businesses that are forced to shut down indefinitely for month after month can't just keep going. And businesses that are looted, burned, and robbed would have a long path to recovery even without the lockdowns.

32,109 restaurants have closed, as of Aug. 31. The number of restaurants forced to permanently close is slightly above Yelp’s total average, at 61%. 

Bars and nightlife venues have also seen a large impact from the pandemic, as a business that can’t adapt as easily to outdoor dining or takeout. Despite being a sector that is six times smaller than restaurants, 6,451 venues have closed. The rate of permanent closures has increased 10% since July, now sitting at 54%. 

Retail saw a similar increase in permanent closures since July, rising 10% to a total of 58% indicated permanent. That’s out of 30,374 closed retail businesses. 

The report showed a surprising month-over-month rise in permanent closures for beauty businesses — since July, about 42% more businesses were indicated as permanently closed. Total closures for the beauty industry sit at 16,585, which is a 22% increase since July. 

These are just numbers. But they're also households going under, jobs disappearing, streets emptying out, and the country being hollowed out.

We haven't even begun to reckon with this catastrophic year and its bad decisions. Not the death toll and not the social, economic, and political toll. 

160,000+ businesses vanishing is a massive catastrophe and the implications of that will be with us for a long time to come.


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