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Poll Finds Nearly One-Third of Small Businesses Have Voluntarily Reinstated COVID-19 Restrictions

  • Share of small businesses saying they are fully reopen falls to 63 percent in Kabbage Small Business Recovery Report
  • Nearly one-third of survey respondents say they’ve voluntarily reimposed COVID-19 restrictions as Delta variant cases rise
  • Small business owners also report greater hiring challenges, translating to longer hours and higher wages among existing employees

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Small businesses have been rolling back their more lenient reopening conditions as the increasing cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant cause concerns.

Kabbage, an online lender owned by American Express, found in the latest installment of its Small Business Recovery Report that 63 percent of small businesses in July and August had fully reopened. This share was down from 85 percent in the May survey, and 31 percent of respondents said they have voluntarily reimposed COVID-19 restrictions after being fully reopen earlier in the year.

Thirty-five percent of respondents in the latest survey said they would require customers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before they could enter the business property. Larger small businesses were most likely to do so, with 45 percent of the smallest companies saying they would require customers to show proof of vaccination.

  • 32 percent said they are finding it very difficult or somewhat difficult to fill job openings at their business
  • 32 percent said the difficulties in finding workers stem from unqualified candidates, more than twice the share of 14 percent in May
  • 32 percent said job candidates have child or family care obligations that interfere with their ability to work, while 29 percent said applicants don’t feel safe returning to work
  • 40 percent said their employees are working significantly longer hours to cover labor shortages, up from 24 percent in May
  • 32 percent said they’ve increased compensation for their workers
  • 32 percent said they have changed financial service providers, with key drivers including finding a provider with multiple services that can meet their needs, product features that make it easier to run the company, or wanting to change to an online banking service
  • The report was based on responses from 550 small business leaders

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