BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A new report from Yelp is highlighting some of the unknown impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
As we come up to the one-year anniversary of the official declaration of the global pandemic, Yelp’s report seems to indicate that there were nearly half a million new business openings in the U.S. during the first year. According to the report, that number is down 14% year-over-year.
Figures from Bakersfield were also included in the Yelp report showing the number of businesses that opened and reopened between March and December of 2020.
The report implies that amid the pandemic people still took a chance at starting new businesses in 2020 here locally.
According to the report, 177 businesses opened in the restaurant and food industry — a 15% decrease from the same period in 2019.
In the home service industry, 339 businesses opened — which is nearly a 6% decrease.
100 businesses opened in the shopping industry — a 30% decrease.
While there were hundreds of new businesses opening, the Yelp report shows that more than 54,000 businesses closed during the pandemic reopened between March and December of 2020. 459 of those businesses were in Bakersfield.
Yelp said they collected these figures by counting new businesses listed on Yelp, which are added by either business owners or Yelp users.
In Kern County — both city and county officials said they do not keep track of the number of businesses that closed down. That’s one reason why the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce decided to conduct their own survey, to have a better idea of how local businesses have been impacted.
Jay Tamsi, president of the KCHCC, said the survey was conducted in January and concluded in February with more than 150 business owners participated.
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce President Nick Hill held a similar survey from October through December of 2020. He said the preliminary findings were concerning.
According to that survey, 45% of African American businesses closed down permanently. He said 60% of the brick-and-mortar businesses said they could not sustain with utilities and rent.
The findings in these surveys are preliminary. Hill said they will have final results in the coming weeks. As for the KCHCC, they said their results will be available on March 20.