While some types of businesses have adapted and survived amid the pandemic-triggered economic crisis, restaurants and retailers have especially struggled.
Yelp’s new “Local Economic Impact Report” said that the number of business closures in the pandemic has continued to increase nationally: “As of Aug. 31, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed since the beginning of the pandemic (observed as March 1), a 23 percent increase since July 10.”
As the number of COVID-19 cases has increased in various parts of the U.S., leading to more restrictive actions by local authorities, 60 percent of those closed businesses are “not reopening (97,966 permanently closed),” said San Francisco-based Yelp.
The report stated that businesses providing home, local and professional services have fared well during the pandemic and continue to offer services: “Even in the wake of increased closures, we’re seeing businesses effectively transition to new operating models while keeping their employees and consumers safe.”
"Some business sectors have been able to weather the COVID-19 storm particularly well," Yelp noted, citing professional services like lawyers, real estate agents, architects and accountants.
“Health-related businesses, in particular, have been able to maintain a low rate of closures,” Yelp said. Such operations range from family doctors to hospitals.
In addition, the report said, “demand for home, local and automotive services has remained robust, with a far lower rate of closures compared to restaurants and retail.”
In the spring, an OpenTable survey predicted that 25 percent of restaurants across the country would likely close as a result of the crisis. OpenTable made the prediction based on the pace of reservations made through its online platform, which works with 60,000 U.S. restaurants.
“Dining will come back. We’ve seen even with cities opening back up, the demand for dining is there,” Debby Soo, OpenTable’s new CEO said last month, adding that “it won’t go back to normal, meaning pre-COVID levels, until we have a vaccine.”