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A new study by economists at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago projects that more than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The mass devastation to small businesses comes despite efforts by the federal government to keep them afloat as large swathes of the economy have been forced to close as a result of the pandemic.

  • Congress has approved over $700 billion in relief funds for small businesses, and approximately 4.2 million have received loans from the Small Business Administration, per the Post.
  • Many small business owners have considered the Paycheck Protection Program as well, but worry about not being able to meet the staffing levels required by the law.

Details: The study projects that at least 2% of American small businesses are gone for good.

  • The damage has been especially severe for certain sectors like the restaurant industry, which has seen 3% of restaurants permanently go out of business, according to the National Restaurant Association.
  • 34% of small businesses are paying reduced rent or postponing payment, according to the Post.

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Updated 12 hours ago - Axios Events

Watch: Small business recovery amid the pandemic

On Thursday July 9, Axios hosted the second of a series of six events on small business recovery across America. National political reporter Alexi McCammond and markets editor Dion Rabouin lead conversations with California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Stockton, Calif. Mayor Michael Tubbs and Cupcakin' Bake Shop Founder Lila Owens to discuss small business in California.

Mayor Michael Tubbs unpacked the impact that coronavirus has had on Stockton, Calif. and various financial programs being put in place to support business owners and people in the community.

  • On whether $27 million from the CARES Act for the city is sufficient: "It's a lot more than zero dollars, but definitely not enough money given the need...We understand that this pandemic won't be over in a month, or 3 months or 5 months when the money has to be spent."
  • On the most effective form of financial support: "What's working for both our small businesses and the residents has been direct cash assistance...We have to have [financial assistance] that's going to last as long as this crisis that provides folks the agency to make decisions."

Cupcakin' Bake Shop Founder Lila Owens discussed her experience as a small business owner and how she's leaning more on digital tools and delivery services in business operations.

  • On the return of business after the initial downturn: "Even in a pandemic, you still have a birthday. You still have an anniversary...It's almost like you want something celebratory just to remind you of life's normalcies."
  • How she has offset revenue from walk-in traffic: "We post the cities and the flavors that we're going to have for the next day and make it more convenient as opposed to calling or sending an online order. [Customers] are able to send us a direct message through Instagram to place their order."

California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced the 'Calling All Californians' initiative, which matches up small businesses with large companies like Google, GoDaddy and Nextdoor to provide free services like web hosting and advertising. She also highlighted state-level services that are in place to help businesses.

  • On the coronavirus' impact on jobs in California: "We’ve had about 5.2 million people go on unemployment who weren’t there before. PPP can help small [business] keep their employees in jobs."
  • Why the relationships between small businesses and their banks are vital: "Big banks went to their customers to encourage them to apply for PPP, but small businesses that use small banks didn't have that boost."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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