Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since then, it has spread quickly, causing thousands of deaths globally.
The virus has also resulted in a brutal decline in economic activity that is hitting many Black owned businesses and professionals hard.
In this series, we will be sharing personal stories from Black entrepreneurs and professionals about how they are dealing with this new Coronavirus reality.
What were your initial thoughts when you learned about the outbreak?
I tend to be an optimistic thinker so I honestly didn’t think it was that big of a deal at first. It wasn’t until the CDC started to get adamant about shutdowns did I think this was really a problem.
How has it affected your business?
I have three businesses that are all impacted by this. First, as a landlord, i’ve already heard from a few tenants who’ve told me that they’re out of work for weeks without pay or their employer has cut their pay to keep the business afloat. That means my rents will be impacted.
Second, I’m a licensed general contractor for my own projects. The city has shut down which means I can’t submit plans or get permits. I’m at a standstill on multiple projects.
Lastly, my primary trade is as a licensed stock broker—so the markets being down over 30% (as of today) impacts every part of my business. I’ve spent a big chunk of the last two weeks talking to clients that were concerned about their assets and their income.
How has it affected your lifestyle?
I tend to love somewhat modestly so this hasn’t impacted my lifestyle very much. I’m also not an outgoing person so social distancing is actually a norm for me.
What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?
I’ll probably go back to having a handful of section 8 tenants on my rent roll. That guaranteed government issued money would be clutch right now lol.
If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?
Stop panicking. It was very disheartening to see folks fighting over toiletries at supermarkets around the world.
–Tony O. Lawson