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Yelp Analysis Says Nearly 100,000 U.S. Businesses Have Closed Permanently During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Sixty percent of the businesses that have closed since the beginning of pandemic have shuttered permanently, according to review of Yelp data
  • Restaurants and retail have struggled the most, with professional services and solo proprietors least likely to be affected
  • Closure rates have been higher in areas that are more dependent on tourism or with higher rents

Close to 100,000 businesses in the United States have permanently closed their doors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Local Economic Impact Report from Yelp.

The report for the second quarter of 2020 found that 163,735 businesses that had been open on March 1 were closed at the end of August. Of this number, 60 percent, or 97,966, had shut down for good.

Yelp found that restaurants were bearing the brunt of this economic impact, suffering 32,109 closures since the start of the pandemic – 19,590 of them permanent. Retail stores, bars, beauty services, and fitness venues were also more prone to closure. By contrast, health care, professional services, and home and auto services were least likely to close due to COVID-19.

Larger states and metro areas with expensive rates were most likely to have higher rates of business closures, as were those whose economy was more dependent on tourism. California, Nevada, and Hawaii had the highest rate of closures, while the Dakotas and West Virginia had the lowest.

Many businesses are also behind on their rent, raising the question of whether brick-and-mortar stores can successfully renegotiate their leases in order to stay afloat. At the same time, some businesses have found it an opportune time to open additional locations due to more available commercial space and more affordable rents.

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