Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for April 27:
- Government officials and business owners are out of sync about the timeline to reopen
- Paycheck Protection Program reopens today with multiple problems
- Work space designers begin imaging post-pandemic office layouts
Businesses begin to re-open
“As keen as companies are to reopen, they are quick to say that if their employees don’t feel safe, they are not going to come back in to work. And if customers don’t feel safe, they’re not going to come back into stores.”
As governors in parts of the country push to re-open businesses in their states, business owners are weighing the benefits against the risks to employees and consumers. While some big companies are calling employees back in, others, such as Macy’s and Gap, will not reopen any time soon.
Likewise, small business owners are grappling with inconsistent guidelines, contradicting priorities between politicians and public health officials, and figuring out what’s best for their employees and customers.
In some places, governors are easing restrictions on non-essential businesses that are able to provide contactless services, such as dog groomers and repair shops, as social distancing efforts extend into the summer months and the unemployment rate climbs.
PPP reopens with problems
“If I were betting, I would guess the money is gone in two and a half or three days.”
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) resumed today after receiving more funding from the latest round of federal rescue legislation. Already, banks have indicated problems with the program, noting that the Small Business Administration’s portal could not process attempts to upload information.
Meanwhile, lenders warn that there will still not be enough money to go around.
Post-pandemic work spaces
“I don’t think the open office is dead, but I think we may have additional barriers for comfort. I’ve been calling it the ‘sneeze guard effect.’”
Despite the lack of widespread testing capabilities or definitive word on whether antibodies confer lasting immunity, many companies are already planning to eventually open their offices again to at least some percentage of workers.
Yet, as many designers note, the post-pandemic workplace will look a lot different than it does now. For starters, many of the efforts to bring employees together will now be adapted to do the exact opposite. Additionally, many places may even begin screening employees’ health before even letting them into the office.