bay area job losses

Small Businesses Adapting as Job Losses Mount During Pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

New numbers show more than a million people lost their jobs this week as coronavirus continues to hit the economy hard.

Small businesses are banking on a combination of adapting to the new normal and help from the state and feds to survive.

In the South Bay, the pandemic has ravaged Campbell's Pruneyard Cinemas. The theater must also now make changes to stay in business.

"We laid off 118 full and part-time people last March, and right now we can bring back about 10 or 12, so the sooner we can open the sooner we can bring more people back to work, but that was devastating," said Dan Orloff with Pruneyard Cinemas.

The theater is now selling popcorn for pick up and delivery for those streaming movies at home. The changes for businesses in the age of COVID-19 come with 1.3 million new weekly jobless claims -- a reminder that times are still tough for many even as tech companies continue to buck the trend.

"It is a hopeful message that small businesses can pivot, and figure out a way to stay alive," said Tom Steyer, co-chair for the governor's taskforce for economic recovery. "We have to have the virus crisis under control so that we can have a robust economy.

Steyer said we need to beat the virus before things return to normal.

As for another round of small business support?

"We need the support of the federal government to come to our help," Steyer said. "So that this government can provide the level of services that Californians need and deserve."

In the meantime, the theatre is being helped by an opening of sorts here. Instead of the usual outdoor dining restrictions for 20 people, they can now serve food and alcohol for 100 people at a time.

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