COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on global, national, state, and local business, and the landscape is changing almost daily. In March, APEX surveyed our local business owners to gain a better understanding of impacts seen around the region. Our intent is to use the information we glean to inform local and state elected officials, government agencies, and others of the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 virus to our region.

This survey is part of a national effort by local economic development organizations and chambers of commerce. It will be conducted several times as things are changing quickly.

APEX would like to thank the 88 people who took the time to respond to the survey. We heard from business owners in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin from a variety of industries including:

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • Construction
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Health and Fitness
  • Hospitality
  • Information
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
  • Other Services
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
  • Religious Institutions
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Utilities

Of the businesses surveyed, nearly 75% have been able to remain open after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued statewide shutdown orders beginning mid-March 2020. While the majority of businesses have been able to transition and enable partial or full teams to work remotely, many require at least some essential personnel on-site to continue production, order fulfillment, or other services. Most businesses have had to make changes to employee counts, with two businesses reporting new hires, 39 reporting layoffs, and five reporting terminations.

Although 25% of survey respondents have closed their businesses temporarily, most report the ability to withstand at least four weeks of business slowdown or shutdown. Of the closed businesses, 60% were forced to close due to state shutdown orders, and 40% made voluntary decisions to close. APEX was pleased to see that nearly half (49%) of regional businesses have lines of credit available to help them during this time, and 30% of business owners are in contact with a lender for bridge loans or other financing. There are great resources available for emergency loans, financing and tax relief, and APEX urges any business to explore the opportunities available to them, if necessary.

Business owners are facing a unique set of concerns during this time of uncertainty, when they must focus on business survival as well as their employees’ health and wellbeing. Survey respondents expressed deep concerns for their staff’s financial, mental, and physical wellbeing, and want to ensure jobs and talent remain available when shutdown orders are limited, and our regional and state economies can open once again.

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