Throughout the pandemic, many of the District’s businesses that provide services either furloughed the majority of their staff or closed operations completely. As pre-pandemic activities resume, many businesses are struggling to meet customer demand while striking out repeatedly on efforts to staff up again.
“As of June 2021, nearly half the small businesses that operated in January of 2020 were closed, and revenue was down by about 57%,” according to a D.C. Policy Center report commissioned by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Those closures were concentrated in “consumer-facing industries” such as leisure and hospitality, where employment remained 35% below February 2020 levels. In contrast, the report found, employment in office-based jobs was only 3% below February 2020 levels.