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UC Study: More Than 40% Of Black-Owned Businesses Have Shuttered Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

BALDWIN HILLS (CBSLA) — Even as the economy continues to slowly reopen, John Cleveland said his restaurant Post and Beach in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood is struggling to stay afloat.

"It's been difficult having to maintain the drop off in sales, the changing environment, no dining room," he said.

Cleveland said he had to slash his prices just to stay alive, and he is not the only one struggling.

According to a new University of California study, more than 40% of Black-owned businesses in the country have gone out of business since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Georgette Powell took over Mel's Fish Shack in the Crenshaw District from her father. She said Black business owners haven't historically had access to bank loans — even during good economic times — but hopes that will change.

"I'm just glad that we can now sit down and have a conversation and that people are willing to look at it again and do something about it," she said.

But along with access to bank loans, Black-owned businesses have also been receiving much more attention in the past few weeks.

"With more diverse economic choices, we support and uplift those communities and make sure that they're supported and it actually makes our economy in a better place," Olivia Dutcher said.

Dutcher, an economics major at Berkeley, drove from Laurel Canyon to pick up dinner at Post and Beam. She said she wanted to be mindful about where she spends her money.

But for John Cleveland, making it through the COVID-19 pandemic is not just about economic survival. His son miles was born prematurely with a chronic lung disease, which is why he hasn't rushed to open up his dining room, even though the county says he can.

"And I think of my son," he said. "I think of my cooks, they have children. None of us can really afford to get that sick, so we're trying to do this the right way."

In Los Angeles, some businesses have been able to stay afloat by participating in senior meal programs where the city pays them to deliver food to the elderly.

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