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Small Business Owners Are Leaning on Credit Cards to Survive

About 35% of U.S. entrepreneurs say they’re using personal cards or savings during the pandemic. Half say they won’t last to 2021 without more help.

cashier cash register retail shopping
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

For more than one-third of small U.S. business owners, keeping their ventures alive during the coronavirus pandemic is coming at a high personal cost. 

As the American economy faces an unprecedented contraction and Covid-19 deaths top 150,000, the debate over reopening states has hinged in some quarters on how to balance protecting lives and livelihoods. Government loans through the Paycheck Protection Program have helped support some businesses, but the accumulating months of reduced revenue are forcing entrepreneurs to buoy their own businesses with their personal assets and credit. Many have already succumbed.