BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – A new report from Yelp highlights some of the unknown effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses.
On the one-year anniversary of the official declaration of the global pandemic, Yelp’s report seems to suggest that nearly half a million new store openings took place in the US in its first year. According to the report, that number is down 14% from a year earlier.
The Yelp report also included numbers from Bakersfield, which shows how many businesses opened and reopened between March and December 2020.
The report implies that amid the pandemic, people still grabbed the chance to start new businesses locally in 2020.
According to the report, 177 stores opened in the restaurant and food industry – a 15% decrease from the same period in 2019.
In the home service industry, 339 companies opened – a decrease of nearly 6%.
100 stores opened in the purchasing industry – a 30% decrease.
While hundreds of new businesses have opened, the Yelp report shows that more than 54,000 businesses closed during the pandemic that reopened between March and December 2020. 459 of these companies were in Bakersfield.
Yelp said they gathered these numbers by counting new companies listed on Yelp that were added by either business owners or Yelp users.
In Kern County, both city and county officials said they didn’t keep track of the number of shutdowns. This is one of the reasons the Kern County’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce decided to conduct its own survey to get a better idea of how local businesses have been affected.
Jay Tamsi, president of the KCHCC, said the survey was conducted in January and completed in February with more than 150 business owners participating.
Nick Hill, president of the Kern County’s Black Chamber of Commerce, conducted a similar survey from October through December 2020. He said the preliminary results are worrying.
According to this survey, 45% of African American companies have closed permanently. He said 60% of brick and mortar businesses said they couldn’t get by on utilities and rentals.
The results of these surveys are preliminary. Hill said they will have definitive results in the coming weeks. The KCHCC announced that its results will be available on March 20.