*WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pandemic-fueled inequities have surfaced in the small business community. Just from February to April 2020 alone, over 400k, or 41%, of Black-owned businesses were permanently closed, relative to just 17% of white-owned businesses.
With recovery on the horizon, small business leaders expressed to the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) that holistic relief is needed to get back to work at a more sustainable capacity and pace. At the top of their list was the need to remove barriers to vaccine education and access for their employees, community, and families.
The USBC has joined forces with Uber to address a unique barrier to vaccinations— transportation.
Beginning the week of April 19, communities in key cities will have access to 10,000 free round-trip rides to vaccine appointments. The cities include: Baltimore, Ferguson, Houston, Long Island, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington.
According to an article in Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, transportation to vaccine sites is an issue for low-income communities of color, which are disproportionately affected by the virus as public transportation is reduced in many cities during the pandemic.
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“The USBC advocates through action on behalf of those who have historically been left out of access to resources and opportunities,” says Ron Busby, Sr., President and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. “Working with Uber increases the ability for high-risk communities and the Black-owned businesses that anchor them, to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by helping reduce transportation inequity— ultimately supporting recovery for our neighborhoods and nation.”
The rides are for use by small businesses, their employees and customers from now until September 30, 2021.
“At Uber, we believe that transportation should not be a barrier to a vaccine. As such, we are providing 10 thousand rides to our partners at the U.S. Black Chambers to disseminate to their members,” said Danielle Burr, Head of Federal Public Affairs at Uber. “Working together, Uber and the USBC will ensure equitable access to vaccines so all communities have the tools for recovery.”