Americans support small businesses during coronavirus with online classes, takeout

How coronavirus reopenings could impact swing states

FOX Business’ Jackie DeAngelis on how small businesses in swing states are faring and how that could impact the November presidential election.

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Americans are looking forward to supporting local businesses as they reopen and coronavirus restrictions ease up, according to a new survey.

On Tuesday, Groupon released the results of a survey conducted by OnePoll.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 75 percent of respondents said they “plan to support local merchants as much as possible once restrictions on non-essential businesses are lifted in their communities,” a press release about the survey said.

In fact, about 86 percent said they supported a local business during quarantine, the survey found.

CARES ACT EXPANDS SMALL BUSINESS ACCESS TO LESS EXPENSIVE, QUICKER BANKRUPTCY OPTION

About 77 percent of respondents said they took an online class or joined a virtual experience by a local business, 65 percent said they booked summer activities that are close to home to keep their children entertained and 60 percent said they ordered more takeout and delivery from local restaurants.

Overall, the survey found that 57 percent of respondents know of at least one business affected by coronavirus regulations.

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“This crisis has disproportionately affected small businesses and our hearts go out to local merchants, who have often poured their life savings into their businesses,” Simon Goodall, Groupon’s chief commercial officer. said in a statement. “As some businesses begin to slowly and responsibly open back up, it’s encouraging to see that many Americans plan to continue to help their communities recover by supporting small, local businesses.”

“Even if you live in an area that hasn’t relaxed restrictions or you don’t feel that it’s safe to support them in person just yet, there are still a number of meaningful ways that you can make a huge difference right now such as taking an online class, ordering takeout or delivery and booking future plans,” Goodall added.

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Despite the difficulties small businesses have experienced, the Groupon survey also found that 67 percent of respondents are more hopeful now than they were when the pandemic started.

Once it’s safe, Americans are expected to start spending their money first at restaurants, retailers, clothing stores, salons, spas and bars, according to the survey.

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In fact, the average American plans to spend about $100 a week on local businesses after coronavirus restrictions are lifted in order to help the economy, the survey found. That’s up 16 percent from before the pandemic, according to Groupon.

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CARES Act expands small business access to less expensive, quicker bankruptcy option

J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy; Kroger says ‘thank you’ to its employees

Fox Business Briefs: Coronavirus pushes another retailer over the edge as J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy; Kroger is giving $130 million to its employees to say thank you for working during the pandemic.

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As the coronavirus pandemic weighs on businesses around the U.S., a new bankruptcy option that was expanded under the CARES Act may be able to help some small businesses navigate the crisis.

Companies around the country have felt pressure from lockdown measures and forced store closures, which has led to an uptick in overall bankruptcy filings, Joe Pack, attorney at Pack Law, told FOX Business.

“Sort of like the pandemic, there’s really no discrimination,” Pack said. “Whether the companies are sexy or not, are large or not … it’s affecting all of them.”

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The good news for small businesses is that there is a less expensive, quicker process they can choose as opposed to filing for traditional Chapter 11 protection.

The Small Business Reorganization Act, which took effect in February, added a feature to the bankruptcy code known as subchapter V. The provision applied to small businesses with debt amounts up to $2.725 million.

The CARES Act upped the debt threshold to $7.5 million, making the option more widely available to small businesses.

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WHAT IS SUBCHAPTER V?

It is a streamlined, less expensive and more accessible bankruptcy process that allows small businesses to restructure without ceding control of operations.

Under subchapter V, only a debtor can file a plan, which must be done within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy. There is no committee of unsecured creditors who need to approve the plan. Instead, the plan is expected to be approved so long as the debtor allocates discretionary income toward plan payments over the course of three to five years. The owner also does not have to pay creditors in full in order to retain control.

“A lot of people that explore Chapter 11 appreciate how expensive it is,” Pack said, who noted that subchapter V allows small businesses to “get in and out quickly.”

The broadened threshold is set to expire next year.

In terms of popularity, businesses are still adjusting to the idea of subchapter V, Pack said.

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He added that it doesn’t hurt for a company to explore the option of filing for bankruptcy protection, as a way to learn what options are available. It doesn’t have to mean that you are going out of business or that you are going to file.

Recently, a number of major retailers have filed for bankruptcy, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew.

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