States reopening despite coronavirus see sales increase, survey finds

Florida saw a 31% increase in sales during weekend of May 7-10 from previous weekend

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Across the U.S., states are starting the process of reopening -- and they’re already seeing economic benefits, according to one survey.

Starting in about mid-March, states began implementing some version of shelter- in-place orders and closures of nonessential businesses in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Those orders have also had a serious economic impact, leading millions of Americans to apply for unemployment after losing their jobs or being furloughed without pay.

However, the states that have started to reopen have already seen increases in spending, Fivestars’ “Small Business Reopen Report” found.

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Fivestars, a local commerce platform, published the report Tuesday, according to a press release.

The survey analyzed aggregate sales and foot traffic from thousands of small businesses in California, Texas, Georgia and Florida during the weekends of April 30 -May 3 and May 7-10, as well as from this time last year, from May 9-12, 2019.

Using that data, Fivestars found that Florida saw an increase of 31 percent in overall sales since last weekend, which was the greatest increase in sales.

Florida was followed by Texas, which saw a 19 percent increase in overall sales from the previous weekend, Georgia, which saw an 18 percent increase, and California, which saw an 8 percent increase.

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In particular, clothing stores and beauty salons saw higher increases than other industries.

From the previous weekend, Florida clothing stores saw an increase of 1075 percent in sales, Texas clothing stores saw an increase of 60 percent and Georgia clothing stores saw an increase of 56 percent.

Meanwhile, beauty salons in Texas saw a 149 percent increase in sales from last weekend and salons in Georgia saw an increase of 22 percent.

Restaurants did not see as much of an increase as other industries, according to the survey.

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In Georgia, restaurants saw a 22 percent increase, the greatest increase in sales from the previous weekend. Texas restaurants saw a 9 percent increase in sales from the weekend before, while Florida and California only saw a 6 percent increase.

“In the past two weeks alone, the increase in local merchant sales is encouraging,” Victor Ho, Fivestars’ founder and CEO, said in a statement. “But still, they’ll need thousands of dollars to make up for lost business.”

“Right now, we need to come together as a community to help local merchants weather this storm, by intentionally choosing to shop at local businesses when we feel safe to,” Ho added.

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