HomeSPN BlogStories from the States: American livelihoods hurt by economic lockdowns
The coronavirus created an unprecedented health crisis that has tragically taken the lives of more than 100,000 people in the United States. But not much attention has been paid to the livelihoods lost as a result of economic shutdowns. As economic lockdowns have gone on, millions of Americans have felt their peace of mind and financial security threatened by the uncertainty of when business—and even regular income—can resume.
State think tanks are offering policy reforms to ease the economic burden on Americans, and to help these ideas gain traction in the states, several think tanks are sharing stories of Americans struggling to keep jobs, businesses, and livelihoods afloat in the wake of the pandemic’s economic impact.
Freedom Foundation has been raising awareness about how the stay-at-home order
is affecting Idaho’s small businesses. In April, the Foundation launched the “Stay-At-Home”
stories project that features Idaho workers and business owners whose
livelihoods have been threatened by the shutdown.
Colton and Kearsy Hoffman run the V-Sports Arena, an entertainment center with virtual reality, laser tag, and nerf guns. Colton and Kearsy are now in debt and struggling as a result of Idaho’s shutdown order.
Alisha Anderson is a cosmetologist at Bling Salon in Hayden, Idaho. She hasn’t been able to work in her field for weeks, with no help from the government.
Tina Bui’s salon has been shut down for months. Tina had to lay off all her employees and wonders if she’ll survive the shutdown.
Michael Wendt owns a pottery business in Lewiston, Idaho. Mike loses around $400 per day when he’s closed. After successfully running his operation for 47 years, the shutdown might force him to close his business.
Evan Pruett owns Hooligans bar in Pocatello, Idaho. His business has been devastated and he’s unsure of what the future holds for his family.
Illinois Policy Institute is sharing the stories of several business owners and their struggle with the economic shutdown. As IPI highlights these stories, featured business owners are seeing a flow of orders from Illinoisans eager to keep these local businesses alive.
Janice Yoder owns Adore Bridal in Morton, Illinois. Since her shop was forced to close, she’s been shipping wedding dresses to brides to try on. The business isn’t great, but it’s helping her stay afloat. Yoder described the difficulties she’s had to face as a business owner trying to navigate these uncertain times.
Antonio Cavazos and his wife own a sangria manufacturing business. After the shutdown order, Antonio found it hard to keep paying rent at his store. He’s been able to bring in some sales online, but it’s not enough.
Mike Morrison owns The Chubby Bullfrog, a bar in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois. Mike is frustrated and angry that June 26 is the earliest possible date for him to open with limited occupancy. Mike is unsure if his restaurant will make it.
The Pelican Institute traveled across Louisiana, collecting stories of Louisianans impacted by the economic shutdown. Pelican is sharing these stories in a new video series, “Faces of the Shutdown.”
David Cohen and Chris Hayes are tattoo shop owners in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cohen and Hayes said they won’t be able to keep their businesses if the state doesn’t allow them to open soon.
Jose Villeda owns JLV Construction in New Orleans. Villeda opened his business shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Villeda is frustrated that some of his employees chose to receive unemployment benefits rather than continue to work for him.
Jarett and Kallie Landry own a gym in New Iberia, Louisiana. The Landrys had to lay off all 12 of their employees and are scared they might not make it through this crisis.
Karlos Knott owns Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, Louisiana. Knott was forced to lay off 15 of his employees because of the shutdown order.
Center for Public Policy
For many small business owners, livelihood is directly tied to a state’s reopening timeline. The question of when and how to reopen is inextricably linked to the question of whether their businesses will be able to keep their doors open. Mississippi Center for Public Policy is highlighting this reality for Mississippi business owners by telling the stories of salon, gym, and restaurant owners struggling from the state’s shutdown orders.
Ryan Bramlett and Wesley Bray own 300 Fitness in Pontotoc, Mississippi. They were cited and met with law enforcement for opening their gym ahead of the scheduled reopening timeline.
Lindsay Cash owns Vamp the Salon in Jackson, Mississippi. The economic shutdown has severed her income and livelihood.
Edward and Kristi Ferrell own Little Yazoo Sports Bar & Grill in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The couple noted they can’t continue to be closed or they will lose everything.
Civitas Institute highlighted how North Carolina’s mandated
lockdown is devastating the state’s tourism industry. Civitas featured
stories of hotel owners, homeowners who rely on vacation rental income, and
restaurants fighting to keep the lights on.
Ray Pickett owns the Blowing Rock Inn in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a state mandated lockdown and a county order that banned short term rentals, Ray lost one of his best months for revenue in May.
John Lewis and Amy Blake were banned from renting their home, known as The Keewatin House, in Bald Head Island, North Carolina. They were forced to refund several reservations and lost thousands in canceled bookings.
Donna Long manages the family-owned Captain Nance’s Calabash Seafood Restaurant in Calabash, North Carolina. Calabash is a small fishing village north of Myrtle Beach that depends on summer tourism to survive. Donna was forced to lay off all 45 of her staff after the statewide shutdown order.
the shutdown orders prove to be too much for a small business. The John Locke
Foundation highlighted how North Carolina’s lockdown forced the closure of a local
After the governor’s shutdown order, Trali Irish Pub in Morrisville offered takeout to try and get by. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. As Civitas noted, a pub is not designed for takeout. Pub stands for public house. It’s not just a spot to get pub fare; it’s a gathering place for the community. On May 7, 2020, Trali closed their doors for good.
The Foundation also featured the Instagram posts of several Raleigh, North Carolina restaurants before and after the shutdown order. The piece paints a picture of the difficult challenges many restaurant owners are facing in this extraordinary time.