OKC VeloCity | Chamber's third COVID-19 survey identifies business needs

Chamber's third COVID-19 survey identifies business needs

By Cynthia Reid / Economy / April 27, 2020

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has completed its third point-in-time survey during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted during a 24-hour time period between April 13 and April 14.

This version of the survey included questions looking out toward the reopening of businesses in the coming weeks and the barriers businesses see in that process. The availability of testing and screening was the largest concern, followed by the need for clear guidance, fears of employees and the availability of masks, protective equipment and cleaning/sanitizing supplies.

“The path to returning to their regular operation is not entirely clear for many employers,” said Williams. “Maintaining social distancing practices and keeping employees and customers safe is absolutely a top concern for companies. We are working to find and provide guidance and solutions that will support our companies’ ability to come back to the workplace.”

Nearly 90% of Oklahoma City-based companies surveyed were operational in some form, with the vast majority or 74% employing altered operations, hours, and/or remote work. Nearly 16% are carrying on operations with no changes. The businesses who have temporarily suspended operations is slightly over 10%.

“Our most recent business surveys confirmed how creative and innovative our business owners are in this market,” said Roy Williams, CEO and president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “In essence over two thirds of our companies have altered and adopted new ways to conduct their business and are still operating.  This all shows the resilience and creativity of our business community.”

Many businesses are still evaluating their need to reduce employees. As of the survey, 22 percent answered they have reduced their work force, and another 37% are unsure about their need to reduce employment.

The survey also asked about participation in the City of Oklahoma City’s Small Business Continuity Program. Of those surveyed, nearly 31% of those businesses planned to take part in the application process. The remainder indicated they either chose not to participate or did not qualify.

The City of Oklahoma City’s innovative Small Business Continuity Program. The first-of-its-kind program is funding $5.5 million to provide cash incentives, no-interest loans, low-interest loans and technical assistance for small businesses.

The next point-in-time survey will take place the week of April 27.

For more resources for businesses as they manage this situation, visit www.okcchamber/covid19.

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