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Facebook Report Shows Travel’s Small Businesses Still Hurting From COVID-19

A new report shows how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact small businesses, which are still vulnerable and need support.

According to Facebook’s Global State of Small Business Report, 26 percent of small businesses globally reported they were closed in February, which increased from 16 percent in October 2020.

In the United States, 22 percent of small businesses reported they were closed in February, increasing from 14 percent in October 2020. Of all the impacted industries, travel, restaurant and hospitality are among those reporting the most significant drops.

The travel, restaurant and hospitality industries rely on close customer interactions, which have been devastated by restrictions and social distancing mandates. The report indicated 25 percent of these businesses were closed worldwide, with 20 percent closed in the U.S.

“Since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, small businesses around the world have struggled,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. “While the roll-out of vaccines and the easing of lockdowns in many countries are reasons to be hopeful, our latest Global State of Small Business Report is a timely reminder that many are still vulnerable and in need of support.”

Of the small hospitality businesses still operating, 43 percent reported they had laid off half or more of their employees, with 51 percent in the U.S. also making the massive coronavirus-related changes.

Overall, the data shows that 63 percent of operating small businesses in this travel and hospitality sector reported worse sales performance than before the pandemic.

The American hospitality market continues to feel the pandemic’s impact, with 66 percent of operational small businesses in the industry reporting a drop in sales compared to the previous year, while only 16 percent indicated sales had improved.

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