As the country continues to slowly reopen after nationwide lockdowns, small businesses are starting to see significant increases in their cost to hire and re-employ their staff. The added expenses are coming in several different forms, some of which include PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), higher wage demands, and workplace reconstruction to maintain a socially distant environment. At the same time, these businesses are being mandated to operate at smaller margins due to occupancy restrictions in most cities and states. A breakdown of these new expenses outlines the difficulty of making ends meet for the average business.
PPE – This includes Masks, Hand Sanitizer, and Disinfecting Products at a minimum, with more protective measures such as face shields, gloves, weekly tests, and daily temperature checks needed for businesses requiring closer interactions. These may seem like inexpensive items, but their costs add up quickly. Due to an increase in demand for these products, their prices have skyrocketed over the past several months. In addition to the increased price, many business owners are finding themselves going through these products more quickly than anticipated. The average restaurant owner is experiencing a more than 400% increase in cleaning costs due to the need for extra supplies.
Higher Wage Demands – Fear of infection and added unemployment benefits are causing workers to rethink the idea of jumping right back into work. The CARES Act provides an additional $600 dollars a week to most unemployment checks. This has created a situation where there is more of a financial incentive to stay on unemployment in many cases. Although this added benefit is set to expire at the end of July, congress is currently attempting to extend its timeline with the HEROES Act which is currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill. Other workers are asking for additional compensation for the risks they will be incurring by exposing themselves to the virus daily through returning to work. Many business owners are reporting the need to increase wages in order comply with these requests.
Reconstruction of Workplace – Every work environment from offices to shops and restaurants are being asked to make changes to protect their employees & patrons, as well as to comply with government mandates. Pre-Covid work environments were not built to keep people six feet away from each other. Because of this, many business owners are finding the need to install physical barriers like plexiglass in several places. If they are used to having desks or tables very close to each other, it has become necessary to remove them, and add more compliant seating arrangements. Restaurant owners are constructing outdoor dining areas to expand their capacity limits. While at the same time, disinfecting procedures are being put in place that cause businesses to close every so often for extensive deep cleanings. These costs are not cheap, and in many cases, are causing business owners to take on even more debt than what was necessary to get them through the lockdown period.
The new normal for the average small business owner consists of numerous financial challenges ahead. It was already quite difficult to compete with places like Walmart and Amazon pre-pandemic, but with added debt obligations and additional expenditures, these challenges have begun to increase rapidly. Now, more than ever, our small businesses need all of our support.
If you are a business owner looking for ways to cut down on costs during this difficult time, feel free to explore the AdHires’ “Re-Employ America” job posting promotion. The AdHires team is offering free job listing services to help you bring your employees back to work. More information can be found here – https://adhires.com/employers/