Businesses across the country are suffering during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Dayton area is no exception. Dayton didn’t make Yelp!’s recent list of the 10 U.S. metro areas that have seen the most pandemic-related business closures. But, Ohio came in at # 8 among states, with thousands of temporary and permanent closures. Currently, Dayton Local lists more than 150 area businesses that have permanently closed their doors.
Overall, the trend isn’t positive. According to the same Yelp! Analysis referenced above, just under 180,000 Yelp!-listed businesses that were open on March 1 were marked closed on April 15. But, 140,000 of those businesses, or about 78%, said their closures were temporary. By the end of September, the total number of closures had dropped slightly, to 163,735. However, nearly 98,000 of them, or about 60%, said they would not reopen.
Business Closures Mean Lost Income
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable loan program designed to help businesses keep operating and keep employees on the payroll during the pandemic, helped many Dayton-area companies keep their doors open. At least 20 local businesses received loans of $3.5 million or more. Top recipients in the area included Eaton-based Henny Penny Corp., Dayton’s own Gosiger Holdings, and Tailwind Technologies in Piqua.
And, the area’s largest employer, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, kept on all of its 30,000 employees, though some contractors were impacted by pandemic-related adjustments.
As of the most recent figures available, unemployment in the Dayton metro area stands at 5.2%. That’s a dramatic improvement over the peak of 15.9% back in April. Still, the difference between 3.6% local unemployment at the end of 2019 and the current rate is more than 5,600 jobs. That’s not including workers who have seen their income decline through lost work hours but remain employed.
For many people who lost work due to Covid-19, the situation has grown increasingly dire. First, the $600/week federal supplement to unemployment benefits expired, then a replacement supplement of $300/week lasted just five weeks. Many Ohio utility providers that had suspended disconnections in the spring resumed shut-offs over the summer. The 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits offered by the federal government for those who had exhausted state benefits expire this month, as does the CDC order limiting evictions for non-payment of rent. The suspension of student loan payments, interest, and collection efforts will terminate at the end of January.
Additional Stimulus Relief is in Sight
Over the weekend of December 19-20, Congressional Democrats and Republicans reached a long-overdue agreement on additional Covid-19 relief. Though the agreement doesn’t include everything many struggling consumers hoped for, some assistance is on the way. As of this writing, the final vote hasn’t taken place on the bill. But, the agreement is reported to include:
- An additional one-time stimulus check of $600 per adult who earned less than $75,000 last year and $600 for each of their dependent children, with a smaller amount available for those who earned between $75,000 and $99,000.
- Resumption of the $300/week federal supplement to unemployment benefits
- An extension of the federal eviction moratorium
- Funds for rent assistance
- Tax credits to assist employers in offering paid sick leave
The bill also includes funding for a second round of Paycheck Protection Loans, which may include both initial loans to new borrowers and additional loans to those who obtained funds earlier this year. Some of these funds are earmarked for industries that have been hit especially hard, such as live venues.
Looking for a Longer-Term Solution?
For some people, the pandemic-related financial crunch will be temporary. Some government assistance to fill the gaps and a return to work as the vaccine is administered and life slowly returns to normal will be enough to get back on track. But, for those who were hardest hit or who were already struggling before the pandemic struck, the problem may run deeper. As things currently stand, there’s no buffer in most of the short-term protections. That means, for instance, that someone running behind on rent or mortgage payments may suddenly be faced with a demand to pay up in full or face eviction or foreclosure.
Others may emerge from the pandemic with massive medical bills, or may have been forced to rely on credit to survive this challenging year. Attorney Russ B. Cope has dedicated his legal practice to helping people resolve unmanageable debt. He understands how financial stress can impact every area of your life, and how those concerns have been magnified for many Dayton-area residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with the Cope Law Offices, call 866-933-2750 or use the Free Bankruptcy Evaluation form in the right sidebar on this page. Russ will explain your options, evaluate your situation, and advise you about the solutions that may be right for you.