Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

06/29/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/29/2020 13:14

New Report Shows Dramatic Impacts of COVID-19 on Latino-Owned Businesses in the Washington, D.C. Area

Thirty percent of Latino business owners forced to close or suspend operations

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2020) - Not only do Latinos have the highest rate of COVID-19 infections of any group in the Washington, D.C. metro area1, and are experiencing job losses at almost twice the rate of white counterparts2, Latino-owned businesses are also suffering in the region. A surveyof 150 Latino-owned businesses in the Washington, D.C. metro area shows the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.

The results of this survey were compiled into the report,'Assessing Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Latino-Owned Businesses in the DC-Metro Region.'Conducted in late-April through June, the report is a collaboration between American University's Center for Latin American & Latino Studies, its Kogod School of Businessand the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. While the report focuses on the Washington, D.C. metro area, it can provide a glimpse into the future for businesses in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California - states with the largest percentage of Latino populations per capita and the newest epicenters for COVID-19.

'This report, and the data it presents, places a spotlight on the substantial impacts of the pandemic upon Latino-owned businesses in our region, and the multiple ways these businesses are being affected, often dramatically, while highlighting what they will need to weather this crisis,' said Robert Albro, Research Associate Professor at American University's Center for Latin American & Latino Studies.

The report offers a snapshot of the diverse and extraordinary impacts facing Latino small businesses owners, which include substantial losses of revenue and customers, and major disruptions such as closures and layoffs. The report also highlights Latino entrepreneurs' most urgent concerns in this challenging moment, from a liquidity crisis, a need for more access to capital, to better business advising.

'It is our mission to speak for the community that often goes underserved,' said Nicole Quiroga, President and CEO, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC). 'GWHCC is proud to be in partnership with American University in our efforts to effect change for those we represent.'

Key highlights of the report include:

  • 65% of owners report that the pandemic has resulted in 'extreme' or 'many' changes to their businesses, with only 10% reporting no or minimal impact.
  • 56% of owners report severe upheaval to business as usual, including 30% having to close or to suspend operations, and 26% greatly reducing operations.
  • 34% of businesses are unable to operate in-person (21%) or to operate at all (13%) during the pandemic.
  • Only 9% of owners report having filed or plans to file an insurance claim for business interruptions due to COVID-19.

'It is striking how Latino owned businesses dominate the small business startup numbers over the past decade and how this pandemic is reversing that benefit to our community,' said, James Dinegar, Director, Business in the Capital Center, Kogod School of Business. 'This report identifies the current status and immediate needs of Latino business owners so that focused assistance can be developed - now.'

The report demonstrates the challenges and barriers to access financial assistance that Latino-owned businesses are facing and will face after the pandemic. This report intends to help community assistance organizations and decision-makers identify specific policies and programs to support Latino small businesses during and after the pandemic.

For the full report and more information please visit:


About American University

In its 127-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing change makers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.

About the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Founded in 1976, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce(formerly the Ibero American Chamber) is a membership driven organization that supports the economic development of the Washington, DC metropolitan region by facilitating the success of Latino and other minority-owned businesses and the communities they serve through networking, advocacy, education, and access to capital.

The Chamber envisions building a stronger business network for the competitive future of the region.

1 Moya, José, 'Covid-19 and Latino Immigrants,'

2 Olivo, Antonio, Marissa J. Lang and John D. Harden, 'Crowded Housing and Essential Jobs: Why So Many Latinos are Getting Coronavirus,' The Washington Post, May 26, 2020.