Smaller businesses are less likely than larger businesses to ask customers to show their vaccine cards before allowing them to remove their masks inside, according to a new survey.

The survey, from Atlanta-based fintech Kabbage, comprised 550 "small-business leaders" with fewer than 500 employees in a variety of industries. Just 18 percent of the group said they are "100 percent certain" they will mandate that customers demonstrate proof of vaccination before removing masks in a store.

Responses on the topic varied depending on the size of the business. More than half (55 percent) of respondents with 101 to 500 employees said they were 100 percent certain or very likely to require vaccination proof before allowing inside mask removal. Meanwhile, 45 percent of those with fewer than 20 employees said they "will not require it at all." 

This discrepancy was the most interesting result of the survey, the fourth in a series tracking the impact of the pandemic on small businesses, according to Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage. "I think what we continue to see is pretty big differences in how large businesses plan to address their response versus the small ones," she tells Inc. 

Larger businesses, she added, just have a bit more stability to make demands on their customers. 

Still, the rise of the Delta variant--which has overwhelmed ICUs in less-vaccinated states--seems to have made business owners more cautious. Overall, 63 percent of the survey sample reported being fully open, compared with 85 percent in Kabbage's May report. 

The labor shortage continues to pain some business owners. About a third said hiring was still very or somewhat difficult, while 40 percent said that their current employees are picking up the extra hours due to a lack of staff. The top response for where employers are funneling unused cash? Raises (32 percent). 

Kabbage conducted the survey online from July 27 to August 17, before President Biden's plan to mandate vaccines and full FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Petralia said that might mean more small-business owners will enforce mandates in the future. "More of a federal mandate would make people more comfortable," she says.