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Here's What Small business Owners Should Prepare For In The Coming Months

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Here's What Small business Owners Should Prepare For In The Coming Months

Following the previous eight months of lockdown measures, social distancing, and constant vigilance against the threat posed by COVID-19, business owners are still acclimating to how to conduct their businesses safely and effectively. It’s a process that has become even more harrowing due to the rising capital demands and strained revenue that resulted from the pandemic.

Unfortunately, those demanding strictures only threaten to become more critical as the United States settles into the annual flu season and an uncertain winter.

Although the remainder of 2020 seemingly carries few certainties for small businesses, there are some cues from politicians, economists and health experts that owners can look to in order to prepare as much as possible for the months ahead.

Further Stimulus In Question, But Possible

Perhaps the most resilient hope among small business owners and economists is that another round of small business loans and direct stimulus payments will again serve as a bridge the many Americans trying to make ends meet.

While tumultuous and beset with problems in execution, the general consensus is that the previous stimulus package and the associated Payment Protection Program was a success in keeping businesses open and Americans above water. A preliminary evaluation of the program by ADP and the MIT Department of Economics found that PPP loans helped increase aggregate U.S. employment by between 1.4 and 3.2 million through the first week of June.

Given these results, another round of PPP loans has been a going concern in Washington D.C. But despite the broad consensus that further stimulus is needed, the political split that exists between the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Republican-controlled Senate has stymied proposals from either chamber, including the most recent Senate-drafted bill rejected by The House.

The coming weeks will prove critical for the prospect of another round of stimulus before the new year. Congress is currently scheduled to hold sessions fairly continuously until mid-October when both Chambers go into recess until November. While that doesn’t guarantee the political gamesmanship will subside enough to pass another stimulus package, the upcoming national elections may force the issue and, ideally, foster better negotiations between the chambers.

Public Health At The Forefront

Of course, the most pressing concern and the root cause of the need for stimulus is the ongoing global pandemic that has hit the U.S. especially hard compared to many other nations.

Fortunately, after a second peak over the summer, the number of new cases nationally has again begun to recede in the initial weeks of September and is closing in on the levels the nation saw at the onset of the pandemic.

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Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker

Chart as of September 10, 2020

While this is an undeniably positive step for the country as a whole, many states and cities continue to see rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths. It’s clear that continued vigilance on the part of every American is still critical.

This urgency is doubled given projections from health experts about the threat posed by the incoming flu season as well as a fall and winter in which people will be in close quarters with one another, be it at home, school or at places of work.

This isn’t idle speculation, Harvard Epidemiologist Michael Mina put the onus of mitigating a devastating winter spread on the actions individuals and businesses take today.

In an interview with STAT News, Mina said, “The best time to squash a pandemic is when the environmental characteristics slow transmission. It’s your one opportunity in the year, really, to leverage that extra assistance and get transmission under control.”

In that same piece, Caroline Buckee, associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health put an even more dire spin on it, warning that if the country doesn’t aim for a sustained drop in new transmissions, another lockdown may become necessary.

Buckee said that, unless the U.S. gets as close to zero new cases as possible before inclement weather sets in, she “can’t see a way that we’re going to have restaurants and bars open in the winter, frankly. We’ll have resurgence. Everything will get shut down again.”

The Future Depends On What’s Done Now

While these prognostications are alarming, particularly for business owners already working within a limited funding timeframe, understanding the potential risks of the coming months is the best tool to face them head-on.

This obviously means maintaining social distancing measures within the workplace and following recommendations from The CDC. Business owners can also be proactive in advocating for their needs by contacting their state and local representatives to demand economic relief that comports with their actual needs.

And, although the future holds no guarantees, business owners can turn to Credibly for immediate financing options that could prove critical as we all see through the final stretch of a trying year.

 

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