KEY FINDINGS

  • 89% of respondents report revenue impact, 80% report operational impact.
  • Decrease in customers/orders is the most cited impact.
  • Roughly half of respondents have reduced staffing capacity.
  • The majority of respondents are confident that their business will survive, though the near term remains unclear.

OVERVIEW

Impacts to business operations and revenue from COVID-19 on employers in the Beaufort-Port Royal region are widespread. 89% of respondents to a recent survey conducted by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce report that COVID-19 has impacted their revenue, 80% report impacts to operations.

The most frequently cited top impact is a decrease in customers/orders, followed by an inability to deliver core products/services or inability to see customers due to social distancing restrictions. For a limited number of businesses, supply chain disruption, financial liquidity or decreased productivity are cited as the top concern.

Roughly half of survey respondents have reduced their staffing capacity in response to COVID-19. Among those who have reduced staffing, roughly half have cut hours while half have eliminated positions.

83% of respondents have applied for assistance through the SBA including the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or both. Multiple reported frustration and delays with processing applications for loan or financial assistance programs.

Despite widespread financial and operational impact, 78% of survey respondents are confident that their business will survive. Many respondents with the highest confidence are in the real estate or financial services sectors. Among the 22% of respondents concerned about business closure, most are in the hospitality, F&B or personal services sectors.

Overall, most enterprises in the Beaufort-Port Royal region are generally positive about their long term prospects, but anxious and uncertain about the near term. Additional progress on reopening safely, combined with additional testing and treatment capacity, will bring much needed confidence to regional employers.

BUSINESS CONCERNS/NEEDS

Three themes have emerged as consistently cited business needs:

  1. Timely help for small businesses and displaced workers – access to working capital with fast/efficient processing continues to be a significant business need. For businesses who have had to make staffing cuts, processing time for unemployment claims is also a lingering concern.
  • Reliable information – hunger for information is very high, particularly about changes to regulations and orders, compliance with assistance program guidelines, and how to mitigate health risks for employees and customers.
  • Clear timeline/process for reopening – with the response to COVID-19 entering a third month, businesses want to see additional progress on reopening. Eagerness to reopen is balanced with concern for employee and customer health and a desire to mitigate acceleration of transmission.

DATA COLLECTION

Information for the report was collected Tuesday, April 21 through Saturday, May 2 via electronic survey sent to all Chamber members. For this report, survey data has been supplemented with phone conversations with hundreds of Chamber member employers and feedback from the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

CONTACT

For more information about these findings and the impact of COVID-19 on Beaufort-Port Royal area businesses, please contact: Ian D. Scott, President & CEO, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce at: ian@nullbeaufortchamber.org

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