IN FOCUS — The coronavirus pandemic impacted way more than just our personal safety and freedom, it also forced any businesses to adjust the way they do business.

On top of business adjustments, people are a lot less likely to make unnecessary trips to niche businesses, driving down the available customer base for some. Restaurants and bars are even worse off as they have capacity and compliance restrictions that make going out less appealing to consumers.

All of these changes and challenges are putting many businesses in a tough situation.

“The Hispanic community has been one of the hardest hit economically, because of workforce, because of business, and because of not as much access to some of resources that have been available during the pandemic,” said Nancy Hernandez, president of the Hispanic Collaborative of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Hernandez said there are about 5,000 Latino owned businesses in the Milwaukee region, most of them own by immigrants. She said about half of those business are at or less than 50-percent of their pre-COVID-19 sales. Hernandez said the situation in the Milwaukee area is looking very bad for a lot of those businesses, with now more than 20-percent of those small businesses saying they only have enough money to keep their business going for six months or fewer.

“We are really hoping there are more dollars available as we look at the state, and the county, and the city to find the last of their CARES Act dollars, that it reaches our small businesses and it helps them make it through this timeframe,” said Hernandez, “but they really want is traffic in sales.”

With an upcoming legislative session in Madison just around the corner, more help could be provided by the state.