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States Begin to Shut Down, Small Businesses Say They Won't Survive

In this March 25, 2020 file photo, a closed sign hangs in the window of a shop in Portsmouth, N.H., due to caronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

After some nine months of dealing with COVID-19, it's almost hard to believe, but health experts say the darkest days could still be ahead.

Statistics show the US continues to shatter daily records for virus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. This has some governors imposing strict new lockdowns.

"We did not anticipate having to do this once again but we really all need to step up," California Gov, Gavin Newsom said in a press conference Thursday.

He called a new regional stay-at-home order an "emergency brake" to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Regions where the ICU capacity is falling below 15 percent...We are now mandating that we are implementing a stay at home order for three weeks," Newsom explained.

For many business owners, a second lock-down will likely mean permanent closure. 

"There are so many businesses that can't take anymore. This is the bread and butter time of year. Make it or break it," said Steve Good of Hardisty's Homewares in Santa Rosa, California.

In Detroit, Michigan, a group of restaurant owners met via Zoom to discuss defying Michigan's orders to close.

"We just want to get our restaurants open, we just want to get our people back to work," said Joe Vicari, owner of the Vicari Restaurant Group. 

Earlier this week a federal judge ruled against other owners who sued to reopen, saying it just wasn't safe.

According to a Harvard-run database that keeps tabs on the economic impact of the virus, nearly a third of small businesses in New York and New Jersey have remained closed since January. 

Nationwide, November's employment report shows the slowest job growth in six months.

There is a small glimmer of hope, however, as lawmakers negotiate a bi-partisan relief plan. If passed in its current form, the package would provide more than $900 billion in aid. Including money for small businesses, unemployment insurance, state and local aid, schools, and transportation.

The question remains, whether the money would make it to businesses in time, or if it will be too little, too late.

In her daily press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says there is "momentum" towards the bipartisan relief package. 

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