The HNWCC launched an online survey geared for chamber members in late March to gauge how local businesses are faring as Harris County’s stay-at-home order continues through April 30.
“Earlier this week, Patrick Jankowski, senior economist with the Greater Houston Partnership, gave his prognosis for the Houston economy in 2020. To be blunt, it was depressing,” HNWCC President Bobby Lieb wrote in an April 3 chamber blog post. “Likewise, reading answers to the survey results from our survey was equally gut-wrenching, and I want to thank those who took a moment to complete it.”
According to the survey results, 92.6% of 95 respondents said their business is being negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, while 7.3% said their business is not being negatively impacted. Additionally, 25.5% of 98 respondents said their business is currently closed due to the coronavirus, while 75.5% said their business remains open.
While 59% of 100 respondents said their business is considered an “essential business,” 37% said their business is not considered “essential." 4% said they were unsure.
Of 96 respondents, 31.2% said they are primarily interacting with customers at their place of business. 58.3% said they are interacting remotely or electronically, and 5.2% said they are interacting off-site or at the customer’s location; 13.5% selected “not applicable,” and 9.3% selected “other.”
Finally, an average of 93 responses found that on a scale from 1 to 5, with five being the most severe, business owners rated the negative impact on their business as a result of the coronavirus at a 3.8.
Following the results of the survey, Lieb encouraged all business owners to inquire about eligibility to qualify for disaster assistance, the Paycheck Protection Program and the chamber’s own dues relief program.
“If I can end on a positive note, this crisis has given us all the opportunity to slow down [and] take a step back and [has] forced us to refocus on those aspects of our lives which really matter,” Lieb wrote in the chamber blog. “Family game night is back in vogue. Family dinner is cool again. I see more people out exercising, walking and riding bikes with their children than ever before, and by some perverse hand of God, we have been blessed with some of the best Houston weather in recent memory at the same time we have all been granted a mandatory staycation. This crisis most certainly is bringing about sorrow and hardship, and we all carry an amount of empathy for those this hurts the most, but in the end, I believe we will all be better people because of this.”