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Small businesses struggle to pay rent  

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The latest Alignable Pulse Poll of 9,500 small business owners from April 24-27, shows 34 percent of small businesses nationwide won’t pay May rent in full, of which 84 percent will only be able to pay half of the rent or less next month.

While the majority of small businesses have made arrangements with landlords for reduced or delayed payments, 36 percent can’t get their landlords to budge.

And nearly half of business owners who negotiated with landlords were only able to delay rent by one month. Only 22 percent were successful in deferring rent for three months and a lucky 3 percent pushed off rent for six months.

“Given the massive impact that COVID-19 has waged against small businesses, the issue of paying rent every month just intensifies the problems confronting these very dedicated business owners,” said Eric Groves, Alignable co-founder and CEO. “It’s gratifying to see that nearly two-thirds of landlords have offered some help, knowing they too have loans and expenses to pay. With that in mind, we need to put more pressure on Washington and the banks to get the CARES Act relief in the hands of small business owners.”

The industries most affected by rent struggles include retail, personal services, travel, and restaurants, but this problem cuts across all categories at this point.

That’s largely because more than 44 percent of all small businesses have closed, according to another Alignable poll, running April 17-26 with 40,000 respondents. It showed that COVID-19 quarantines have been especially difficult on women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

According to that poll, more than half of all women-owned businesses (52 percent) report being closed, while similar figures surfaced for minority-owned businesses (48 percent) and veteran-owned companies (44 percent). That’s compared to all other businesses, where only 38 percent have shut their doors. On a hopeful note, 98 percent of all of these businesses plan to reopen once the quarantines have ceased.

“The effects of this Coronavirus crisis on women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses are especially devastating to see,” said Venkat Krishnamurthy, Alignable’s co-founder and President. “It’s hard to fathom how so many of these once-vibrant businesses that bring so much to their communities have been forced into hibernation. We plan to investigate more of these issues in future polls.”

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