The results of a survey released by the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce to chamber members March 30 show that more than 56% of Dripping Springs area businesses anticipate a significant financial impact in the wake of COVID-19.

The survey—which was filled out by nearly 100 local business owners, according to the Chamber—showed 14.5% of respondents anticipate a high impact from COVID-19, with the fallout possibly shuttering their business. About 41.6% said they anticipated a medium impact with a significant financial hit. Only 25% of respondents said they anticipated some impact, but were confident in their ability to recover.

More than 57% of respondents said they had experienced a decrease in sales due to the pandemic, and 51% said they were already decreasing spending to mitigate losses.

The survey also included insights into changed operations for many businesses. Over 28% said they had completely closed their physical place of business, and nearly 17% said they were not paying any employees due to temporary closures.

With local businesses plunged into a difficult new reality, the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce is seeking to identify the challenges of businesses on the ground—and trying to connect them with resources that can help, Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce President Susan Kimball said.

“We’re doing the best we can to track resources and gather the information and disseminate it based on what people need,” Kimball said.

To that end, the chamber has provided members with insight into federal resources available for local businesses hindered by coronavirus, including disaster loans from the Small Business Administration, which will open applications April 3.

Furthermore, various chambers of commerce throughout Hays County—including the Dripping Springs Chamber—have joined the Hays County Task Force, formed to collaborate with community leaders on local solutions to COVID-19 impacts. Other members of the task force include Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell, Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator Alex Villalobos and several representatives from Texas Workforce Solutions.

The Hays County Task Force has implemented its own, broader survey on coronavirus impacts which is still open. Thus far, Kimball said results show that many of the Dripping Springs businesses most affected by COVID-19 are less than five years old.

“We’re really just encouraging people to still patronize local businesses,” Kimball said, emphasizing that local options are available online while physical shopping trips are limited.

Hays County businesses can respond to the Hays County COVID-19 Business Impact Survey here.