- To assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits, the social media site announced.
- Facebook is distributing the funds and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries, but the company hasn’t shared more details regarding eligibility.
- Grant recipients can use the funds to assist small businesses with rent, marketing costs, employee assistance and other operational expenses, the company noted. The platform will be taking grant applications during the coming weeks and has introduced a business resource hub.
Facebook’s effort to assist small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak is yet another sign of just how much the pandemic is impacting retail. As states urge residents to stay home, retailers are feeling the impact of consumers’ changing shopping behaviors.
Retailers have taken a variety of approaches in response to the outbreak. While many retailers have closed their stores and provided their employees with some financial assistance, others have opted to keep their stores open, take additional sanitization precautions and reduce their hours.
It’s not exactly clear how the retail sector will recover from the pandemic. The National Retail Foundation stated in late February that retail sales could reach $3.9 trillion despite the coronavirus outbreak. The organization on Wednesday, though, sent a letter President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other leaders in Washington, D.C., urging the government to support retailers as they cope with drastically reduced sales and payroll and rent costs.
Meanwhile, a report from Apptopia found that grocery apps have been experiencing record-high downloads as consumers stock up on essentials. But while grocery stores see a surge in e-commerce activity, it’s not clear whether other, nonessential retailers will survive.