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Business and Economy

Study: A Quarter Of Small Business Owners Say They Can't Weather Tighter Restrictions

About 1 in 4 small-business owners in the U.S. say they’ll have to close if economic conditions don’t get better soon.

The new numbers from the National Federation of Independent Businesses aren’t broken down by state, but NFIB Maine state director David Clough says the story is no different in Maine, where small-business owners are in a much weaker position now than they were at the start of the pandemic.

He says many are reluctant to take on government aid that might come with strings attached, such as PPP loans that could require repayment.

“Which makes it more challenging for businesses to make the commitment that financial assistance could provide given all the uncertainty that may be coming their way over the winter months,” he says.

Clough says a new bipartisan relief bill in the Senate could be helpful, but many business owners fear as the pandemic continues, public health measures meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 could put them out of business entirely.

“There’s a worry among a number of business owners that governors in Maine and elsewhere will impose or reimpose restrictions that we saw last spring or some degree of restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for them to get through,” he says. “This is not like last spring, the businesses are a lot weaker than they were last spring.”