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Small Businesses Worry That Social Distancing Might Harm Their Survival Chances, Survey Finds

  • Over half of small and medium-sized business owners say they worry that social distancing guidelines will reduce their chances of survival
  • Business owners grow more optimistic about outlook despite drop in revenue
  • Survey also finds that remote work has mixed effect on workforce

Small business owners were showing more optimism about their financial health and ability to keep their doors open, according to a recent survey by Verizon Business. At the same time, more than half worried that social distancing requirements would jeopardize their company’s chance of survival.

Of the 600 small and medium-sized businesses in the survey that had opened or were planning to reopen, 55 percent worried that social distancing measures that limit their capacity might constrain their business’s ability to stay open. Sixty-seven percent said they have seen their revenues decline, although this was an improvement from a 78 percent share in April.

Approximately 100,000 businesses have closed in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis by Yelp. In Connecticut, capacity limits were recently relaxed but remain below 100 percent as companies must continue to abide by social distancing requirements and other safeguards.

The Verizon Business survey found that business owners remained optimistic in the face of ongoing challenges, with 72 percent expecting they can stay open for six months or longer. The share of respondents reporting that they were concerned about their job security dropped from 56 percent in April to 52 percent.

Companies were also asked about how remote work had affected their business. Two-thirds said there had been challenges implementing this setup, but a comparable share said remote work had allowed employees to balance their work and home lives more effectively.

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