Gone in 2020: Businesses also victims of pandemic

More than 100,000 stores and restaurants went out of business in 2020. (Matthew Horwood/GettyImages)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – From your neighborhood watering hole to major retailers, well over 100,000 businesses have closed in the past 10 months as COVID-19 swept across America. According to data scientists at Yelp, 60% of those might never reopen.

“Business closures have continued to rise, with a 34% increase in permanent closures since our last report in mid-July,” Justin Norman, a Yelp vice president told CNBC.

A University of Southern California study found the pandemic could result in a $3.2 trillion to $4.8 trillion loss in U.S. real gross domestic product between 2020 and 2021.

In and around Jacksonville, there are more vacant storefronts than we’ve seen in a long time and some famous marquees have disappeared. While about 3,000 people showed up some days at the former Sears location at Regency Square most days in December, they are there to get a COVID-19 test, not to shop.

At the other end of that mall, JC Penny sits vacant. Other major retailers to close were Pier 1 and Justice, plus grocers Earth Fare and Lucky’s Market.

Jacksonville-based SteinMart, which was already in bankruptcy, shuttered all 280 of its stores in October, including six in greater Jacksonville.

The National Restaurant Association told Congress earlier this month that 110,000 restaurants have permanently closed. The industry group says that 17% of the restaurants in America.

Local victims include Magnificat Café, Brio Tuscan Grille and10/Six Grille in the Seminole Building. Some restaurants permanently closed some of their locations, including Gators Dockside on Baymeadows and Safe Harbor Seafood in Riverside.

The downtown location of Anytime Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness are among the gyms that didn’t reopen after the spring lockdown.

We don’t have a comprehensive list of businesses we’ve lost. You probably know of locally-owned businesses in your neighborhood that have closed. While everyone is encouraged to be safe, patronizing restaurants and stores you don’t want to lose could help them hang on.

About the Author:

Digital election producer in 2022. He created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.