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Indiana business survey: 80% cite revenue loss as biggest COVID-19 impact

Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. (IIB Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) —  A new survey from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce says the majority of Hoosier business leaders are seeing a major impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 1,400 business leaders responded to the survey, called Indiana’s Road to Economy Recovery, which also touched on challenges for businesses to return to normal and how long businesses could survive under the current restrictions.

Additionally, the chamber has submitted specific return-to-work recommendations to Governor Eric Holcomb and his economic recovery team.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar said the message they’ve gotten is that business owners want to get back to work “as soon and as safely as possible.” 

“We think that hopefully can be in early May, but we understand and appreciate that the governor’s got to look at the numbers on new cases, on deaths, have we gotten to the other side of the peak and are we on the downside of that hill?” Brinegar said. “And ultimately are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to handle the cases. I think Indiana has done a masterful job in that regard.”

The survey asked respondents to rank the impact of the pandemic on their businesses on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most impact. The chamber says 56% ranked the impact on their own business at 8, 9, or 10. The average of all respondents was 7.24.

The chamber says the biggest impacts noted in the survey were revenue loss (80%), cash flow concerns (51%), suspended operations (34%) and employee layoffs (32%). 

The survey also asked when respondents thought businesses should resume operations. The chamber says 33% said “after May 1,” another 33% said “when more widespread testing has taken place,” and of the 26% in the “other” category, the predominant response was “as soon as possible.”

The respondents also listed among the challenges of returning to normal: customer retention (48%), finances (46%), personnel (38%) and supply chain (32%).

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Brinegar said. “Businesses and their employees are hurting. The survey reinforces the importance of resuming business activity as soon as possible, with the appropriate levels of safety in place.”

Brinegar says the recommendations provided to the governor and his economic recovery team include:

  • Uniform, statewide return-to-work safety guidelines for employees and customers, such as mask usage, social distancing, disinfecting strategies, testing protocol and mental health.
  • A legal protection order through the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration to assure companies that, as long as they are abiding by the return-to-work safety guidelines and any additional IOSHA guidelines, they will be immune from lawsuits if an employee or customer contracts COVID-19 after business resumes.
  • Set COVID-19 testing standards and expectations with increased testing in place.
  • Formalizing state support for small businesses through additional state or private sector investments, accelerated government payments to business vendors, and potential tax credits and exemptions, among other initiatives.
  • Ensuring reliable, high speed broadband access for continued telecommuting among employees.

You can see more results from Indiana’s Road to Economy Recovery survey by clicking here.