Latino-owned businesses are gravely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new assessment report.

The New American University assessment noted that closures and unemployment, as well as loss of income, are the common effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on businesses.

A total of 65-percent of owners claimed that the pandemic has resulted in "extreme" or "many" changes in their business.

Fifty-six percent of owners said there was a serious disorder to business as usual; 30 percent reported closure or suspension of operations; and 26 percent had reduced their operations. However, the effects were not felt similarly.

Technological firms and business services industries have been affected less and made fewer changes. They also managed to point to more opportunities. 

Challenges Faced by Latino Entrepreneurs

Mexican folk art store Colibrí in San Francisco's Mission District was forced to close. Owners Connie and her husband Ricardo Peña opened Colibrí three years ago.

"We were so excited. We put a lot of effort, a lot of sacrifice, and we invested a lot of money to open this, but now we feel very sad, very devastated," Connie was quoted in a report.

Cesar Oyagata also closed the Native Forever store, which he owned for 17 years. 

Meanwhile, some businesses are slowly regaining their balance as they were allowed to gradually open up.

Jesus "Chuy" Gutierrez was able to continue its operations during the shutdown due to being an essential business. But his business still suffered around 75 to 80 percent of loss.

Guiterrez owns Mari Chuy's Mexican Kitchen and added that there's some slow changes.

"Our dine-in and patio has been steady... And they're still respecting social distancing and [wearing] masks," he was quoted in a report.

Non-essential business establishments have been forced to close during the statewide shutdown.

Tattoo parlor owner Jose Velasquez said they were relieved to be allowed to open in the reopening of the economy. He owns A Toda Madre Tattoos.

Although they are back in operations, both owners admitted that it will take at least a full year to financially recover.

The two business owners were concerned that they might have to close again due to recent increase in coronavirus cases in Nevada.

Support to Latino Businesses

Before the pandemic, San Francisco supervisors created the non-profit organization 24th Street Latino Cultural District aiming to help Latino-ownned businesses and residents.

The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District also organizes Carnaval and the Day of the Dead festivals, which have already been cancelled.

Calle 24 Latino Cultural District business liaison Gabriella Lozano has worked with the city to realign the budgets so that it can be handed out as grants to affected businesses.

Lozano explained that the funds were handed out as unrestricted funds that could be used to pay their own rent and employees to help them for a few weeks or a month. 

It has given out $2,000 assistance to 26 businesses.