Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Impact and Recovery Survey Results Released

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May 08, 2020
May 8, 2020
Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Impact and Recovery Survey Results Released
In late April, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Business Support Taskforce distributed a COVID-19 Business Impact and Recovery Survey in order to gain additional insight into the immediate effects of the pandemic on area employers and their sentiment on the economic recovery, while anticipating an economic re-opening in Virginia. Respondents included a good mix of small, medium and large employers.
“We, individually and collectively, have been in frequent contact with our members and area businesses to assess the economic impact, share information on resources, and do what we can to keep the economic engine primed” said Frank Tamberrino, President of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. “These survey results, along with a local companion survey on consumer sentiment is helping the Taskforce plan and recommend the next steps to help companies answer questions and get back to some sense of “normal” business operations as quickly as possible”.
Every company surveyed has been impacted in some way because of the current COVID-19 situation. A number of smaller businesses, particularly those who depend on daily customers or foot traffic (restaurants and retailers in particular), are temporarily closed. Larger employers have typically remained open, although operations have been affected by new health precautions and efforts to keep supply chains in sync with their needs. Eighty-three percent reported lost sales and/or revenue in April. Sixty-six percent have reduced hours and/or restructured operations.
Looking ahead, fifty-seven percent of responding companies anticipate returning to pre-COVID-19 staffing levels, while thirty-six percent anticipate running leaner operations (i.e. fewer staff) when they return to normal operations. The anticipated timeline to return to pre-COVID-19 level of business activity covers a wide range, with twenty-five percent indicating a 2-3 month return period, nineteen percent looking 6-8 months ahead, and nineteen percent forecasting a full year. The reminder checked the “unknown” box, reflecting the uncertainty of the speed of recovery in Virginia and nationally.
Businesses were also asked what type of information or areas of concern could be addresses to help businesses move forward as the Governor’s Executive Orders are lifted. This information is already being used to plan webinars and virtual meetings by Taskforce members to help local employers regain confidence in the recovery and position their operations for continued success in the near and long terms.
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Business Support Taskforce members include representatives from the City of Harrisonburg Economic Development; Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism; the Shenandoah Valley Partnership; the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC); Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce; the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council; and JMU’s Professional and Continuing Education. 
Frank Tamberrino
               Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce
               frank@hrchamber.org                               (540) 434-3862   
Brian Shull
               City of Harrisonburg, Dept. of Economic Development
               Brian.Shull@harrisonburgva.gov                (540) 432-7736
Josh Gooden
               Rockingham County, Department of Economic Development and Tourism
               jjgooden@rockinghamcountyva.gov       (540) 574-1896
Andrea Dono
               Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance    
               Andrea.Dono@harrisonburgva.gov          (540) 432-8934
Harrisonburg-Rockingham COVID-19 Business Impact and Recovery Survey – April 2020
                                                                                                                                                        Response Ratio
1. IMPACT: Has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 virus and resulting social distancing and stay-at-home measures?      
  Negatively and significantly   52.8%  
  Negatively and moderately   20.7%  
  Mixed (some good, some bad)   24.5%  
  Positively (sales, employment or revenue increases)   1.9%  
  No measurable impact   0.0%  
  No response   0.0%  
2. IMPACT: Has the COVID-19 situation directly affected your business? (check all that apply)      
  Lost sales, lost revenue   83.0%  
  Reduced hours, restructured operations   66.0%  
  Challenges maintaining full staff   18.8%  
  Difficulty finding employees   9.4%  
  Supply chain disruptions, concerns   33.9%  
  Business closure - temporary or short-term   26.4%  
  Business closure - undecided but may be permanent   9.4%  
IMPACT: Number of Employees (Total for all respondents)      
  March 1 - Full-time   n/a n/a
                     Part-time   n/a n/a
                     TOTAL   n/a n/a
      Job Loss %
  April 20 - Full-time   221  
                     Part-time   302  
                     TOTAL   523 15.6%
  Number reducing staff (March-April)   47.1%  
  Number adding staff (March-April)   3.8%  
  Number of employees unchanged (March-April)   49.1%  
IMPACT: Have you received any financial assistance to help your business through the pandemic? (check all that apply)      
  Payroll Protection Program (PPP)   51.9%  
  Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL)   5.7%  
  Mortgage, rent, business loan deferral or adjustment   5.7%  
  Local Taskforce Grant or City Economic Development Disaster Loan   5.7%  
  Applied for PPP or EIDL but HAVE NOT received financial assistance   19.2%  
  Other   3.8%  
  None   26.4%  
RECOVERY: What does your business need to "get back to normal" or at least in a similar position (operations, revenue, staffing) that you were in earlier this year?      
  (Note: open ended question. Results were grouped by general category.)      
  Let people get back to work/open the economy   24.5%  
  Revenue/Money   24.5%  
  Public interaction/client interaction/customers   20.7%  
  Allow public meetings, gatherings   11.3%  
  Public confidence/Testing   7.5%  
  Lift travel restrictions (national, internationally)   5.7%  
  Broad economic recovery   5.7%  
  Increased use of technology (company and staff)   3.8%  
  PPE/Equipment   1.9%  
  Better view of long-term impacts and changes   1.9%  
  Re-open schools   1.9%  
  Additional staff   1.9%  
  Tax relief   1.9%  
RECOVERY: What concerns do you have when the "economy is open" again?      
  (Note: open ended question. Results were grouped by general category.)      
  Second wave of COVID-19   15.1%  
  Prolonged impact of COVID-19   11.3%  
  Continued social distancing will affect business relationships and sales   11.3%  
  Slow return of customers   11.3%  
  Getting employees back to work, or ramping up staff fast enough for demand   9.4%  
  May not return to "normal"   9.4%  
  Employee health, creating a safe work environment   7.5%  
  Low level of socialization   5.7%  
  Money/funds - Charitable donations   3.8%  
  Money/funds - Government/public dollars   3.8%  
  Family, related health issues   1.9%  
  Money/funds - Capital projects delayed   1.9%  
  Marketing budget cuts   1.9%  
  Inflation   1.9%  
  None   3.8%  
RECOVERY: From an employee/staffing requirement, are you:      
  Anticipating a return to pre-COVID-19 staff level   56.6%  
  Running a leaner operation (i.e. fewer staff)   35.8%  
  Looking at re-training or re-tooling, requiring new skills   7.5%  
  No response   0.0%  
RECOVERY: When do you expect to return to pre-COVID-19 level of activity?      
  2-3 months   24.5%  
  6-8 months   18.8%  
  1 year   18.8%  
  Never   0.0%  
  Unknown   37.7%  
  No response   0.0%  
RECOVERY: To help the Business Support Taskforce prioritize business assistance, immediately and during the recovery period, what subjects would be helpful to learn more about? (check all that apply)      
  Business Planning (or Continuity of Operations)   40.3%  
  Marketing   38.4%  
  E-Commerce   19.2%  
  Human Resources (unemployment insurance, finding employees, re-hiring employees)   28.8%  
  Employment and labor law (2020 General Assembly and Federal COVID-19 responses)   34.6%  
  Technology (remote working and teleconferences, etc.)   30.7%  
  Cybersecurity   15.3%  
  Financing and financials resources, including SBA   30.7%  
  Accounting and preparing financials   13.4%  
  Workforce education, training and re-training   23.0%  
Primary Business Location      
  Harrisonburg   47.2%  
  Rockingham County   45.3%  
  Other - Regional/ Shenandoah Valley/I-81 corridor   7.5%  
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