coronavirus pandemic

Small Businesses Battle for Survival as Stimulus Money Runs Out

NBC 7 Responds looked at how small businesses are battling to keep the lights on

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Diego businesses are bracing for the return to a more restrictive tier on Saturday as coronavirus cases rise across the county. Businesses that have already changed how they operate say they need more help to keep the lights on.

"It's been really emotional," said Tanya McAnear who owns Bad Madge & Company in South Park. "It's been a hard time seeing people who are really struggling and how are they going to pay their bills?"

McAnear says without the federal stimulus program, her store would've had to close.

"Having that really saved my business," McAnear said. "Then getting the small business loan helped me pay off some of my debt and I'm just holding on to my little bit of a safety net to hopefully get me through to who knows what's next."

San Diego businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. A report from Yelp says San Diego is in the top 10 for total number of businesses that have closed during the pandemic. That's included some of Bad Madge & Company's neighbors in South Park which often rely on each other.

"It's heartbreaking," said McAnear. "I can't afford to lose the restaurant across the street. If they close that means there's going to be less foot traffic in my neighborhood."

Bad Madge & Co. is still open with fewer people inside and mask requirements.

"We want people to be able to come in and enjoy the music, enjoy the environment, with our mask on so we can still have a connection," said McAnear. "We need people to feel like we're really human."

McAnear has also used Instagram Live and private shopping hours to keep an active customer base.

"If you really want to see your community thrive through this pandemic you've really got to shop local," McAnear said. "You've got to shop small."

McAnear says the stimulus checks helped her store as people tried to spend some of the extra cash in their own communities, but that money is running out and more financial support would help.

"We need it," McAnear said. "It's absolutely essential to keep money flowing into the economy."

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