Scientific Opinion Poll: 90 Percent of Small Business Owners Report Being Impacted by COVID-19, Need Additional Relief

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

As small business stimulus programs could run out of funding this week, a new small business survey reveals far-reaching COVID-19 economic impacts and overwhelming support for broader grant relief measures

Washington, DC – As America’s small businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges resulting from COVID-19 and emergency small business loan programs are unable to respond to overwhelming demand, a new scientific opinion poll released today provides insight into the far-reaching economic toll the virus is having on small businesses. Additionally, the poll reveals vast support for robust, direct grant assistance and other relief measures to help small businesses stay afloat and fully recover from the crisis. 

Specifically, the poll, which surveyed 500 small business owners nationwide, found that 9 in 10 small businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, with 43% indicating a severe negative impact. Additionally, the poll found that 41% of small business owners have experienced a revenue decrease of 50% or more, and 33% of small businesses have closed up shop, with an additional 14% planning to do so. One of the most alarming figures arose from reported layoffs. Of those employers who have laid off staff, 40% report that the layoffs were permanent and 1 in 3 businesses have laid off, furloughed or made reductions to their entire workforce. 

In terms of policy solutions, the poll also found that 92% of small business owners support direct grant assistance to aid in recovery. While the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is in jeopardy of running out of funding this week and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) payments are stalled, it’s important to note that 86% of respondents support broadening financial assistance for rent, mortgage, and utility payments by not tying aid to maintaining payroll as required by the PPP program. 

“As the owner of a travel company, our business has taken a massive hit. All business is frozen, sales are down nearly 99%, and as a result, I have had to reduce salaries and cut employee hours. I desperately want to retain my staff, and I viewed PPP as a means of keeping them employed,” said Anastasia Mann, owner of Corniche Travel in California. “However, the application process was complicated, and I was asked to reapply multiple times, jeopardizing my spot in line and delaying disbursement of the money my company urgently needs. While I am holding out hope that the loan will come, if Congress wants to get serious about helping small businesses stay afloat and keep employees on payroll it must immediately allocate direct grant assistance for small businesses.”

“In the midst of the worst financial crisis our business has experienced since we opened over five years ago, we had hoped that applying for PPP would be straightforward and help would be on the way quickly. However, what we experienced was anything but simple,” said Rebecca Winters and Lauren Fields, owners of Lowcountry Children's Co-op in South Carolina. “After getting the runaround from three different banks, we were finally able to submit an application. Now, we worry that funding for the program will be gone before our application is processed and the loan is received. For businesses like ours to make it, Congress needs to pass additional unrestricted grant assistance before it is too late.”

“While the Administration debates the appropriate time to reopen the economy, there remains a notion that once everything reopens the small business community will bounce back to normal. However, our findings reveal just how far and wide the impact of coronavirus runs,” said John Arensmeyer, Founder and CEO at Small Business Majority. “Nine out of every ten businesses have been impacted, but only a small fraction of those have received the help they were promised. The COVID-19 stimulus assistance programs passed in the CARES Act do not provide the quick relief necessary to help small businesses now and in the future. While Congress has already recognized gaping holes in PPP, simply plugging these gaps will not be enough. What small businesses need is expanded relief programs that include direct, unrestricted grant assistance.”

This poll was a national survey conducted April 6-9, 2020 by Chesapeake Beach Consulting for Small Business Majority. For a copy of the full report, please visit:

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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