Updated: November 20, 2020 06:39 PM
Created: November 20, 2020 03:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The business community is worried New Mexico's near shutdown will force many stores to close permanently.
“There are multiple challenges that are compounding the longer we go on this,” said New Mexico Business Coalition President Carla Sonntag. “So we’ve had massive losses already and this shutdown, especially with the holidays coming up, the retail stores. This is a time when they often make a majority of their income over the holidays. Now that’s being taken from them as well.”
The two-week closure will stretch through Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Many places can only offer delivery, curbside or online services.
“Hundreds of businesses, thousands of jobs have been lost,” said Sonntag.
As people around the state head back on unemployment, Sonntag said the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is being drained. Businesses contribute a tax to the fund throughout the year. It's based on the number of employees who file for unemployment benefits.
Lawmakers vowed to hold all the businesses harmless during this year’s special session, Sonntag worries that this crisis will trigger drastic measures to refill that bucket.
“The fund has been depleted. The state has now gone and borrowed money from the feds in order to piece that together but it doesn’t provide what is needed for the employees security to have that," Sonntag said.
Now, she said, it’s just a waiting game to see which businesses can hang on to an uncertain economic future.
“We’ve talked to many business owners. Many of them are just despondent over these new orders. There is no end in sight,” she said
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