The “Game of Thrones” tagline “winter is coming” is especially ominous for small businesses in this COVID-19 battered year.
A new report from online payroll and benefits platform Gusto predicts dire outcomes if more government relief funding is not made available to help businesses through the cold weather months.
The report, authored by Gusto economist Luke Pardue, outlines a scenario where retailers and leisure and hospitality businesses including restaurants hemorrhage 1.4 million jobs as cold weather makes pandemic adaptations like outdoor dining and queuing outside shops with capped capacities untenable in large swaths of the northern and western U.S.
If coronavirus cases spike, as they already are in Colorado and other parts of the country, and economic activity slows even more, Pardue predicts that small businesses in those sectors could shed 2.8 million jobs.
Denver would not be spared. Gusto, which has a large office in the city, predicts that hospitality and retail businesses in the Denver metro could let go of 33,500 workers over the next few months and 333 small businesses –those with 100 employees or fewer– could close by late January.
“Denver has experienced a pretty substantial recovery since the depths of the recession. About half of those gains were due to outdoor adjustments business was able to make,” Pardue said “I know Denver people are used to cold weather, but it’s kind of open question if when the snow comes if they will wait in line when the bookstore has a capacity