Westchester County is conducting a survey of its business community to better understand how to help the vast number of businesses left reeling by the forced closures and stay-at-home order stemming from the coronavirus.
The survey was recently sent to about 5,000 people on the county’s Economic Development Office e-mail list, members of the local chambers of commerce as well as the Business Council of Westchester.
Preliminary results released by the county Wednesday afternoon show that 76 percent of business owners expect to lose more than half of their income but 57 percent have not yet laid anyone off.
It also revealed that 85 percent will need financial assistance, with most applying for Small Business Administration loans, but need help with the process.
Another survey highlight shows that 70 percent of the respondents need help changing their business model or marketing and are concerned with cash flow to pay rent and retain employees.
County Executive George Latimer said business owners are doing their best to pay their workers as long as possible but desperately need help.
“They’re absorbing the hit by paying their staff even as they’ve had a dramatic drop in income,” Latimer said.
“The survey was designed to start a conversation and hear directly from the business owners,” said Shari Rosen Ascher, from the county executive’s Advocacy and Community Liaison Office. “The more we know, the more ways we can focus our attention on what businesses need. We have a long road ahead and it is difficult to predict and prepare for all the curves and bumps along the way. But this survey is the beginning of trying to navigate that road as effectively, efficiently and compassionately as we can, together.”
The survey, which went out last week, closes on Friday. To take the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GP22SYY.
So far, about 200 volunteers have signed up to help the county assist applicants fill out the applications for various programs, Latimer said, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and the Paycheck Retention Program.