More than 700 Williamson County businesses respond to Round Rock Chamber survey ahead of business reopenings

The Round Rock Chamber released its business survey analysis April 30, assessing needs and concerns addressed by Williamson County businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The survey was conducted from April 17-24 through the Williamson County coalition, which includes the following cities and entities:

  • City of Cedar Park

  • Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce

  • City of Georgetown

  • Georgetown Chamber of Commerce

  • City of Round Rock

  • The Greater Round Rock Community Foundation

  • Round Rock Chamber

  • Hutto Chamber of Commerce

  • Leander Economic Development Group

  • Taylor Economic Development Corp.

  • Williamson County

  • Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area

Key findings from the survey are related to operations, safety, preparedness, workforce and financial operations, according to an April 30 Round Rock Chamber news release.

Recommendations provided included further clarity and consistency in communication efforts from the federal, state and local government levels. Considerations included streamlining criteria for businesses to follow with respect to "what operations their business can engage in, when, and what criteria those determinations have been based on," per the survey analysis.

Survey results also pointed to a need for regional considerations, with specific concentration on creating consistency across geopolitical areas for businesses that service the entire region as opposed to a single city or geographic area.

Addressed areas included uncertainty on the status of customers and supply chains given the current pandemic. Survey results showed businesses who remained open have reported little to no customers, while those that shut down or significantly limited operations are concerned about customers' abilities to return to the market.

Continued financial assistance from the federal government, combined with local responses, for cash assistance and tax relief programs were identified as critical short-term needs by the survey.

From an operations perspective, 35% of businesses reported operating as normal or fully operating in a remote manner, while 30% reported being closed temporarily or indefinitely.

69% of respondents felt it was safe for both employees and customers to begin a phased return to operations as recommended in the Open Texas plan, per the survey analysis, and 63% of businesses reported they could "reestablish normal business operations within one week or less."

Data on the Williamson County workforce collected revealed 57% of respondents had to cut employee hours, while 28% did not. The remainder of respondents reported hourly reductions were not applicable.

Similarly, 39% of businesses surveyed reported cutting employee wages, 43% responded they had not and 18% said it was not applicable. Additionally, 58% of businesses have laid off zero employees; 24% have laid off between one and five employees; 7% laid off between six and 10; 4% laid off 16-25; 2% laid off 26-50; and 2% laid off more than 50 employees.

Financially, 55% of businesses applied to the Small Business Association Paycheck Protection Program, and 29% of responding businesses applied to a local grant program.

“This is an important time for business and for our region. Following the Governor’s announcement of the Open Texas plan to reduce restrictions, the business community must lead our return to work in a measured and safe way,” said Jason Ball, Round Rock Chamber’s president and CEO, in the release. “The information provided in this analysis will be very important to policy makers as we move forward together.”

For complete survey results, click here.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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