Results from a third survey issued to local business owners by the Cape Cod Commission and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce indicate that there are continued impacts to revenue, operations and the region’s workforce.
Four hundred and fifty respondents representing businesses and non-profits from every town and the major industries on Cape Cod completed the third survey, issued in early January 2021.
More than 85 percent of respondents reported year-over-year losses in the second quarter of 2020. Businesses rebounded a bit during the summer, although nearly 30 percent of respondents reported third and fourth quarter losses of 50 percent or more.
By December 2020 most respondents had reopened, although less than half were open fully. Nearly 10 percent are fully closed due to the pandemic, but the majority of those anticipate reopening.
More than half of respondents took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program. In the first survey, issued in the spring of 2020, more than half reported that they were leveraging personal savings to keep their businesses afloat. By the time the third survey was issued, that number dropped to 40 percent.
Cape Cod faced unprecedented levels of unemployment due to COVID-19. Businesses and organizations closed, reduced hours, and shifted operations online where possible, but some employees remained furloughed or laid off through the end of the year. Many more remained working on reduced schedules. Some businesses struggled with employees being unable or unwilling to return, citing concerns about health and safety, income, and childcare.
“This series of business surveys is also unprecedented in getting firsthand information on how the Cape’s economic condition is changing. This work informs our advocacy and business support services,” said Wendy Northcross, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO. “Cape Cod’s local businesses have shown their ability to adapt over the course of these last twelve challenging months.”
Looking ahead, the most requested resource among respondents is support for communications, marketing, social media, and online sales as businesses need to reach their customers online more effectively. Many respondents intend to increase online operations to expand customer reach and accommodate social distancing, but many business owners are not yet sure how the pandemic may change their 2021 business plans.
“Data collected at several key points throughout the year allowed us to thoroughly examine the impacts felt by our local businesses and target assistance,” said Kristy Senatori, Cape Cod Commission Executive Director. “Using this information, the Commission will continue to collaborate with regional partners and the local business community to support a resilient Cape Cod economy.”
Despite the high levels of uncertainty, many Cape Cod businesses continue to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic and efforts to recover will carry on well into 2021, the survey concluded. The Cape Cod Commission and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce will continue to work together to support economic recovery and develop and promote strategies to enhance resiliency of the local business community and regional economy.
Results from the three business impact surveys can be found at: www.datacapecod.com