Pandemic affects businesses


Gabrielle Wood/The Lion's Roar

As the entire country is following measures to prevent physical interaction, this process is affecting local businesses. The stay-at-home order has required some local businesses to shut down.

American companies are feeling the effects of the coronavirus limitations that are encouraging people to stay home and withdraw from leisurely outings.

On March 22, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a mandatory stay-at-home order and forced the shutdown of all nonessential companies. Although this was a measure to combat the spread of the virus, there have been ramifications for businesses unable to transition to remote work.

According to a Goldman Sachs survey of 1,500 small businesses conducted on March 16-17, over 50% of participants say their businesses will be able to continue operating for 0-3 months and over 90% of participants say they have been impacted by COVID-19.

With locations in Hammond and Amite, local restaurant Coop DeVille is one of the many businesses being negatively affected and pressured to adapt to the conditions. Meaghan Bouterie, general manager, shared the restaurant’s response to the situation.

“It certainly has been an adjustment for my staff because they’re used to working off of their tips,” noted Bouterie.

She stated that Coop DeVille is familiar with methods of take-out, but those eateries who previously offered dine-in only are enduring a bumpy transition.

“There are a lot that have never really dealt with to-go,” said Bouterie. “They’ll probably need a lot of support after this.”

Bouterie also commented on how locals are continuing to contribute to the success of Coop DeVille and its personnel.

“I am overwhelmed, and I do appreciate the support the community has shown out over these last couple of weeks. I know that a lot of the other small businesses feel the same,” said Bouterie. “Just knowing at the end of all this, they’ll need that continued support.”

Customers are not the only source of aid present for struggling businesses. Melissa Bordelon, president and CEO of the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce and university alumni, shared the efforts that she and her team are making during this critical time.

“The Greater Hammond Chamber team has been working with our local, regional and national partners to make sure we learn as much as possible to help our members,” said Bordelon. “We continue to reach out to our members via phone, email and social media to make sure they have information sure they have information resources they need.”

Bordelon also mentioned the existing partnerships prepared to advocate and assist the business community.

“Southeastern’s LouisianaSmall Business Development Center is working with businesses to help them secure their U.S.Small Business Administration Small Business Loans,” stated Bordelon.

A bill introduced in the Houseof Representatives on Feb. 28,titled “Small Business Relief FromCommunicable Disease InducedEconomic Hardship Act,” states that small businesses can accessEconomic Injury Disaster Loans Of up to $2 million. Additionally,the Small Business Associationhas increased its funding by more than $30 billion in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Citizens can also show support to small businesses by purchasing their products directly. Buying gift cards is a way to promote non-food vendors and ordering to-go further eatery successes. There is a list of university sponsors participating in #TakeoutTuesday located on the university’s Facebook page.Likewise, The Greater HammondChamber’s Facebook page displays “Tangipahoa Take-Out & Delivery Options.”