Eight in 10 businesses in the state say they expect to take a financial pummeling in the next six months during the worst of COVID-19’s second wave, despite confidence that they’ll be able to deliver their products and adapt to the pandemic.
“State business owners report they are adapting to the realities of COVID-19, however, many indicate they need additional support from the state and federal governments, including financing and technical assistance,” reads a press release on a January survey by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
The survey was based on 2,070 fully or partially finished surveys from employers across the state, fielded online between Nov. 4 and Dec. 1, 2020.
By November, 67% of owners said they received federal aid under the Paycheck Protection Program or 1,805 of the respondents. And 47% said they received a grant or loan from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, or 1,791 of the respondents.
Just over five in 10 businesses said they will look for financial help in the next six months, and another four in 10 are at least on the fence about taking that route.
“Small businesses benefited from the financial support provided by federal and state government programs,” reads a Jan. 19 statement from the center’s director, Carl Van Horn, who led the survey.
He noted that many businesses still need help with transitioning to digital, social media marketing, as well as online delivery.
Because of reduced capacity, previous stay-at-home orders, and overall consumer anxiety about contracting the virus, many patrons have simply opted to stay home and shop online.
The report found that 39% of respondents increased their online platforms to offer their products because of the pandemic.
Ninety-two percent of respondents said they were at least confident they could satisfy their customers, and 71% said they were confident they could bring customers back in the door.
Over two-thirds of employers have been able to adapt to COVID-19 protocols, such as mask requirements for employees and guests, social distancing enforcement and reduced capacity, and frequent cleaning.
But the report found that employers struggle most with the ability to provide masks for their workers and customers, and with the ability to operate with reduced capacity in place.