2020 has been a tumultuous year and thankfully it's almost over, but we're not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet. As we head into what might be the most unorthodox holiday season ever, we want to encourage you to shop local and shop small!
COVID-19 has changed our daily lives significantly but small businesses owners have taken perhaps the greatest hit of all, unable to stay open while conglomerates like Amazon, Walmart, and Target reap the benefits. Small businesses are "the backbone" of the United States and employ nearly half of the private sector workforce. Many of them have been closed since the initial lockdown or only open at a significantly reduced capacity, forcing them to furlough or lay off many of their employees due to little to no financial assistance.
This map shows the percentage of the change in number of small businesses open throughout the country. Sectors that have been hit particularly hard include leisure and hospitality businesses; 37 percent are reporting zero transaction data. Nearly 100,000 businesses have permanently closed or gone under since the beginning of the pandemic.
Additionally, many people in the arts and entertainment industry have seen their entire way of life stripped from them. Music venues have closed their doors, many of them shuttered permanently. Musicians, promoters, stage hands, crew members, audio engineers, small venue owners, booking agents, labels, etc. have found themselves in situations with significant financial losses and have received little to no help from the government. While other sections of the entertainment industry (i.e. professional sports) have been able to "adapt" since the initial lockdown, most music industry professionals have found themselves in need of finding other work since there is no set return date for touring and hope that things will be "normal" is dwindling.
For a more in depth look of how the music industry (specifically metal) has been effected by coronavirus, check out this article by Kyle Messick.
You can help out by shopping small, shopping local, and doing whatever you can to support your favorite bands and musicians. Consider buying merch, a subscription to their Patreon or Twitch channel, contributing to a GoFundMe, buying in and viewing livestream shows, etc.
Over the course of the next month, we will be featuring several local and small businesses on our Instagram, Facebook page, and EVI Acts page. We encourage you to check them out and to consider showing some love for your favorite local/small businesses and independent artists as well because they can use all the help they can get. Remember to shop small when you can and have a happy, healthy holiday season.