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Survey Looks at Local Business Impacts from COVID-19 Disaster

Survey Looks at Local Business Impacts from COVID-19 Disaster

Posted: Apr 03 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For information contact:
Nathan Schneider, Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC Vice President, ph. 701-223-5660
Ellen Huber, City of Mandan Business Development and Communications Director, ph. 701-667-3485

Survey Looks at Local Business Impacts from COVID-19 Disaster

April 2, 2020 — The vast majority of Bismarck-Mandan businesses are experiencing reduced operating levels and decreased revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is among key findings in a survey conducted by a group of business organizations and government entities to better understand the impact of the public health disaster on local businesses.

Most respondents, 82%, have experienced a decrease in their weekly revenue as a result of COVID-19, 3% reported an increase and 16% saw no change. Among those reporting a decrease, responses were distributed across all percentage ranges with the greatest share, 18%, reporting a 90-100% drop.

Operating levels and supply chains are compromised according to survey findings. Sixteen percent of respondents indicated their business is closed; 75% the result of a voluntary decision, and 25% reported a forced closure. Respondents are experiencing a 57% average on-site operating level, a 39% remote operating level, are receiving 78% of goods and services purchased from vendors and are able to sell, ship and/or deliver 73% of goods and services.

Regarding employee counts, 62% of respondents have not experienced a change; 38% have. Among 108 businesses indicating a change, six reported new hires, 75 reported layoffs and 13 reported terminations. Beyond concerns about the general health of employees, business owners and managers shared worries about retaining employees and making payroll, employee financial stability, potential loss of employees to other industries, ability of employees to work remotely, and mental health distress.

Respondents were nearly split on whether their business has access to a standing line of credit for working capital. Nearly one-third have contacted their lender about deferred payments, interest-only payments, a bridge loan or other financing, 45% have not, and 25% indicated it is unnecessary. A third of respondents expressed interest in Small Business Administration disaster loans.

Top concerns are decreasing consumer confidence and spending; financing impact on operations, liquidity and capital; a global or U.S. recession; and employee stress. Major types of support sought from business organizations are a buy local campaign, employee resources, distribution of other employer best practices, advocacy, and assistance referrals.

The group issued the joint survey March 26-31 to gather input about economic consequences, as well as to determine and prioritize services for area businesses, members and stakeholders, and identify those in need. Surveyors are sharing results with local, state and federal elected and appointed officials.

The survey received 436 responses with self-identification from 116 indicating a Bismarck location, 71 from Mandan, and 7 others. The survey summary is available on the websites of most survey partners:

• Bismarck Downtowners
• Bismarck Mandan Board of Realtors
• Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC
• Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau
• Bismarck Mandan Home Builders Association
• Center for Technology and Business at the IDEA Center
• City of Bismarck
• City of Mandan Business Development and Communications Department
• Mandan Progress Organization

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