Small Business Owners Share Impact of COVID-19

Date: June 02, 2020

NFIB completed a survey of members across the state of Ohio on how the coronavirus and the reopening of Ohio’s economy are impacting them. Ohio entrepreneurs were asked to respond on topics regarding meeting requirements under Ohio’s five protocols for operating, to their confidence in bringing the economy back to pre-crisis levels.

At the beginning of dealing with the coronavirus, Governor Mike DeWine’s initial Stay at Home Order was to allow a broad range of essential businesses to remain open, including those important to the supply chain, operating under strict safety protocols. These small business owners provided necessary items such as pallets to the trucking industry, services on vehicles to keep first responders on the road, and food to be sold in local grocery stores.

“Collectively small business owners have never experienced what they have over these past two months. While our survey shows many stayed open, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted them in various ways. Ohio entrepreneurs are a resilient group and they will lead our economy back out of these unprecedented times,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“The ability of entrepreneurs to be agile and innovative has allowed them to prepare to safely welcome back employees and customers as Ohio economic sectors continue to reopen. There is no doubt in my mind that they will diligently meet the five protocols to continue to serve their local communities and customers around the state and beyond,” he continued.

Several key findings of interest in the Ohio COVID-19 Impact Survey include:

  • NFIB members responding to our most recent survey report that 74% of them never shut down their business completely and by the end of the month 94% of respondents anticipate being open for business.
  • Eighty-two percent said they were confident in their ability to handle employees’ health and safety concerns, and that same figure said the same about their customers’ health and safety concerns. Small business owners have always known how to appropriately manage operational risks.
  • However, 65% said they are concerned about their customers returning and getting their sales back on track.
  • Almost 7 out of 10 are concerned or very concerned about the potential of coronavirus related lawsuits as Ohio’s economy slowly reopens.
  • Surveys have held consistent that about one-third of small business owners are worried about finding an adequate supply of face coverings to operate under the required safety protocols. Few, less than 7% require any special type of face-covering to operate, with most utilizing either cloth or disposable face coverings. Small business owners have consistently identified this requirement to be the most difficult of the five protocols to comply with.
  • About half of small business owners responding have some level of concern about maintaining the necessary levels of staffing. The additional $600 per week from the federal government to supplement the unemployment received by laid-off employees runs through July 31 and they worry this may cause an unintended consequence of creating an economic advantage for people not to return to work.
  • Two-thirds responding have a level of concern with their ability to comply with the new family leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • When it comes to finding the products necessary to sanitize their businesses, 89% of respondents say they can get what they need.  And only about 20% say it is difficult to impossible to frequently disinfect all their workstations at any given time.
  • In complying with the five protocols, 89% had less than $5,000 in expenses associated with the new safety requirements.
  • Of those responding to the survey, 80% applied for one of the SBA forgivable loans, and of those, 93% applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Almost one-quarter of those who have taken out one or both loans anticipate that they will need additional support and another 54% do not know yet. Forty percent applied for a loan of less than $50,000, which shows while the money was most critical to the smallest of the small businesses, who did not need large loans to stay alive.
  • When it comes to believing when their business will be back to pre-crisis levels, 60% feel it will take less than 12 months. However, 40% think it will take more than a year to recover, or are just not sure.

“I appreciated the opportunity to serve as a member of Governor DeWine’s recovery task force. It was important to have the perspective of Ohio small business owners represented. Of greatest importance is that Ohio’s economy is completely reopened in a safe manner following the five protocols developed,” said Kelly Moore, owner of GKM Auto Parts in Zanesville, Ohio.

“Small business owners constantly face challenges in their day-to-day operations. Dealing with the risks associated with the coronavirus is another we will deal with and overcome. The health and safety of our employees and customers are always at the forefront, and this moment in history just magnifies that a little more,” said Lisa Crosley, owner of Enviro Control Systems in Dayton, Ohio.

NFIB is strongly committed to working with elected officials to bring Ohio’s economy back. Small business owners will continue to be the backbone of their hometown, as for every $100 spent by consumers at locally owned businesses, $68 stays local, compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain. Their employees live in the area, and entrepreneurs give back to those same communities, sponsoring the little league teams, events, and charities as the heart and soul of their neighborhoods.

“Small business owners played their role in providing input the taskforces put in place by the DeWine Administration to create the plans that as of this week will see ninety-two percent of businesses reopened. We look forward to our continued partnership with elected officials in moving Ohio forward and back to the prosperity we were recently experiencing. In the past entrepreneurs have led us out of prior economic crises, and they will do so again,” Geiger concluded.      

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