A new survey shows that the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus are causing major damage to the ranks of the nation’s small businesses.
In many jurisdictions across the nation, businesses deemed “nonessential” by state or local authorities have been forced to shut down.
The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index issued a special report Friday on a survey that found 24 percent of small businesses said they were temporarily shut down and another 40 percent expect to close over the next two weeks.
More alarming, however, is the fact that 43 percent of the businesses responding to the survey “believe they have less than six months until a permanent shutdown is unavoidable,” the report said.
In the retail sector, which accounts for a large percentage of small businesses, 51 percent said they do not think they can last more than six months.
President Donald Trump has called upon Congress to act to support small businesses.
Congress must pass the old, and very strongly proven, deductibility by businesses on restaurants and entertainment. This will bring restaurants, and everything related, back – and stronger than ever. Move quickly, they will all be saved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2020
The survey found that 11 percent do not think they can stay in business another month, while 13 percent give themselves two months or less. Of the businesses surveyed, 19 percent think they will hold out between three and six months, while 16 percent say they think they will endure between six months and a year.
The businesses surveyed do not believe this is simply a blip on the economic screen. The poll found that 46 percent of them believe it will take the economy at least six months and perhaps up to a year to recover from the coronavirus-induced restrictions that have impacted their businesses.
The survey found that 58 percent of small businesses are very concerned about the impact of the virus on their business, with the greatest concerns coming from service-sector businesses in the Northeast with 20 or more employees.
Fifty-four percent of the small businesses surveyed rated the American economy’s health as poor. Only roughly one in four respondents said the national economy was doing well, and only 32 percent believed the same locally.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, those figures represent a major drop; confidence in the national economy was 35 points higher in the previous quarter, reflecting the strength of the pre-virus Trump economy.
The business survey found that the remedy for the nation’s economic ills selected by the president is also their top choice. Fifty-six percent of the businesses surveyed said the best thing to help them would be a direct infusion of cash to the American people, something that Trump ensured was included in the coronavirus relief package he signed last month.
The survey found that 30 percent of businesses said loans and financial aid in the relief package will be the most helpful to them, while 21 percent said payroll tax relief was the best help they could have.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 2, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump is committed to making sure America’s great small businesses have the assistance they need to keep paying their workers during this crisis. #PaycheckProtectionProgramhttps://t.co/v8HDkczqKR
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) April 1, 2020
The survey was conducted March 25-28 by Ipsos among a sample of about 500 small business owners.
The plight of the nation’s small businesses was also outlined in a recent Harris poll that found 71 percent of the small businesses surveyed reported their revenue had fallen in recent weeks as virus-linked restrictions have been imposed. Twenty-eight percent of businesses said their revenue was down 50 percent or more.
The Harris poll found that 10 percent of businesses surveyed said they had already gone out of business permanently.
The survey found optimism in short supply looking forward. Seventy-five percent of businesses said they could endure another month, but then came the drop-off in hope: Only 58 percent said they could survive for another three months, and 46 percent said they were confident they could make it for six months.
The Chamber of Commerce survey did find some hope looking forward, with 57 percent feeling positive about the overall health of their businesses and 23 percent saying they expect to hire people in the coming year.
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