Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Many Small Businesses to Close for Good

The new coronavirus that forced people around the world to shelter in their homes and avoid human contact has taken a toll on small businesses, causing many to close their doors for good.

"I never could have imagined being closed for days and days," Barb Skupien, who owns a jewelry boutique in Asheville, North Carolina, told CNBC.

Earlier this month, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, which represents about 5,000 restaurants statewide, released a survey that painted a dire picture of layoffs and permanent closures in the state's restaurant industry.

coronavirus small business owners NYC 2020
A store in New York City stands closed on April 21 as the coronavirus has shut down many businesses. Small businesses all over the U.S. have struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have been forced to close for good. Spencer Platt/Getty

"Approximately one in 10 restaurants have either closed permanently or intend to over the next 30 days. That's troubling, that's a high number. We think the number could jump to one in three," Justin Winslow, president of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association told WOOD TV.

Many restaurants have adjusted by taking phone or online takeout orders and using a skeleton crew to deliver those orders. Meanwhile, others have become mini-markets, selling toilet paper, fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as filling food-to-go orders.

But that hasn't been enough for everyone, and some mom-and-pop restaurants, bakeries and other small businesses have been unable to manage the financial burden and have closed for good.

Last week, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who was an independent restaurant owner in Phoenix, announced on her Instagram page that her Barrio Café Gran Reserva would close its doors, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix reported.

Esparza, who opened the restaurant in 2016, has vowed to reopen someday.

Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said there will be more closures due to the spread of COVID-19.

The same can be said for small businesses in Texas, which are often buoyed by a robust oil industry, but that has also been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Two days before Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen some businesses on May 1, the Texas Restaurant Association and the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston released a survey on to the impact of the pandemic on Texas restaurants.

The groups surveyed 340 restaurant and bar owners in Texas between April 8 and April 22, and it revealed the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, with 90 percent reporting a significant drop in revenue.

More than half of the respondents said it would take about nine months to fully recover, while about 3 percent said they may never recover from the pandemic.

Forty percent of those surveyed also said they'd been forced to temporarily close, with 19 percent revealed they had closed their doors permanently.

Many of the restaurants that have closed for good were Texas landmarks, including Threadgill's in Austin, which had been in operation since the 1930s, and Fricano's Deli, near the University of Texas-Austin campus, according to a KVUE-TV report.

In addition to restaurants, other small businesses are suffering the impact of COVID-19.

After COVID-19 forced school closures, which in turn led to the cancellations of proms in the nearby school districts of Conroe, Spring and Tomball, Misty Clow had to close Couture House, a store in the Woodlands, Texas, that offered formal dresses for rent.

"It's absolutely devastating," Clow said in a Conroe Courier report. "We have hundreds and hundreds of rental dress cancellations and people calling and wanting their money back. We've already paid sales tax and credit card processing fees on those transactions. It's our desire to absolutely get a refund if we can make that possible because it's no fault of theirs or of ours."