Detroit Regional Chamber > Racial Justice & Economic Equity > Nearly 70% of Minority Business Owners Fear Omicron Will Hurt Their Business

Nearly 70% of Minority Business Owners Fear Omicron Will Hurt Their Business

January 6, 2022
The Black Enterprise
Jeffrey McKinney
Jan. 5, 2022

The COVID-19 Omicron variant is punishing small businesses across America, including those run by Black entrepreneurs.

A fresh Alignable’s Omicron Pulse Poll shows that 69% of minority business owners are worried that the latest variant will affect their recovery and could hurt their business. That was the highest rate out of four different business segments surveyed.

Minority businesses are not the only ones expressing concerns; 52% of women small business owners—or most of those firms—have similar sentiments.

An online referral network for small businesses, Alignable’s poll last month of 5,632 small business owners reveals overall that 44% of small businesses are concerned about Omicron hurting their economic recovery, which was already challenging before the most recent poll. The latest figures show that minority businesses fear being hit harder by Omicron than some of their small business peers.

Black proprietors are usually hit harder than their counterparts by sudden or expected events. For instance, Black-owned businesses are 20% less likely than their White peers to get a loan from a large bank. Any emerging problems can potentially make matters worse.
Ownership rates for Black-owned businesses fell 41% between February and April 2020, based on a U.S. House Small Business Committee report. That was the greatest decline of any racial group. Furthermore, some 53% of Black business owners have seen revenues fall by 50% or more since COVID-19 became a widespread concern, versus just 37% of White business owners.

Despite the new fears, 43% of small business owners report Omicron does not worry them. Some 10% indicated they don’t know enough about it to decide if it’s a threat or not. Many who are not concerned and run entirely digital businesses report they are “sick and tired of worrying about COVID.”

Asked what actions they are taking to get ready for Omicron, 40% of small business owners disclosed they are boosting basic safety procedures. They consist of wearing masks and urging people to stay six feet apart again. Additionally, 24% said they’re not doing anything different, 23% said they’re getting a booster shot, and 21% report they are increasing marketing efforts for their businesses.

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