Ahead of the latest resurgence in the coronavirus, a survey of Baton Rouge small businesses found while the overwhelming majority were hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, most were expecting the economy to improve in the next six months and making plans to increase the number of employees in 2022.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber polled 125 businesses in June as part of a survey that will be done every six months. This will allow the organization to focus on challenges faced by small businesses and respond to them, said Trey Godfrey, BRAC senior vice president of policy.
The survey was taken before the most recent wave of COVID cases, which has flooded area hospitals, forced mask mandates to make a return and led to the cancellation of some fall events.
The survey found that 83% of businesses had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, with 20% being forced to temporarily close a location and 2% permanently closing a location. Seventeen percent of businesses surveyed in June said their business will last another year under the current economic climate, while 65% said their business will last a year or more.
Fifty-three percent of the businesses said they applied for money through the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Twenty-five percent said they had not received any financial assistance during the pandemic.
More than half of the businesses said they think the national and local economy will improve over the next 6 months. Sixty percent of the businesses said they expect to increase the number of employees in 2022.
Of the businesses that participated in the survey, 76% have been operating for more than 5 years. Half of the companies said they have annual revenues of $500,000 or more.