Most entrepreneurs have their companies back up and running, but few are expecting it'll be business as usual anytime soon.
While eight in 10 small businesses in the U.S. have fully or partially reopened, owners expect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic to stick around: 55 percent say that it will be six months to a year before the economic climate returns to "normal." That's according to a poll on the impact of the coronavirus on small businesses released Wednesday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. The online survey of approximately 500 U.S. business owners, the latest in a monthly series, took place between May 21 and 27.
This latest survey, "not surprisingly, looks different from the two prior ones, in both good and optimistic ways--and ways that ought to inform public policymaking going forward," says Neil Bradley, executive vice president of the Chamber. Bradley calls the figure on reopening "good news," but says the long-term outlook for recovery is concerning.
The level of optimism varied by location. Among businesses in the West, 77 percent said they are anxious about having to close again or stay closed because of a potential second wave of the coronavirus, compared with 74 percent in the Northeast, 62 percent in the Midwest, and 55 percent in the South.
Overall, more than half of small businesses that lost employees due to the pandemic said they hope to rehire them in the next six months. Meanwhile, eight in 10 business owners surveyed said they are planning to make changes to promote safety in their workplaces. Roughly 40 percent of respondents said they will require employees to wear protective equipment and customers to stand six feet away from one another. Nearly half plan to increase their cleaning or disinfection efforts.