Nashville small businesses recovering at better rate than cities across the country

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Despite Nashville bars reclosing under a modified Phase Two, it was another crowded weekend on Broadway.

Video from over the weekend showed little social distancing among the crowds and almost nobody seen wearing a mask.

However, the Metro Public Health Department said many businesses are complying with the restrictions, and those businesses are feeling the impact as a result.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce told News 2 small businesses had an end date for when it was believed they could resume normal operations, but because Davidson County has had to modify reopening plans, they are now learning how to settle into the current situation long-term.

According to the chamber, the largest impact on small businesses in Nashville was back in May when 56% had to furlough staff. A total of 91% of the impacted businesses have 100 or fewer employees, which represents about 300,000 employees. Some of their members have had to permanently close, including City Fire restaurant, in addition to other businesses who have very few employees.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Right now, smaller businesses in Nashville are holding fast and recovering at a better rate than other cities across the country.

“Part of that is related to the fact that you’ve seen unemployment benefits and checks from the federal government coming into households that allows them to continue purchasing. Of course, the big question is what happens when unemployment federal benefit ends on July 25 and what happens after that,” explained Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz.

The chamber is helping guide members with paycheck protection program applications, offering webinars and has a special program called “Be a good neighbor,” which is an online resource that connects local businesses.

“The chamber is doing what we can to do to support businesses who are aggressive, proactive and safe in reopening their businesses because we know without jobs, we don’t have consumers and without consumers we don’t have jobs. We need to stay safe, be creative and proactive and our economy is going to recover faster than anywhere else,” said Schulz.

Schulz said the chamber is continuing to study the economic impact of the pandemic. Right now they are waiting on unemployment data from June and July to see how that will impact reopening moving forward.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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