The Greater Atlantic City Chamber, Atlantic County’s largest organization of citizens and businesspeople, has released the results of its initial COVID-19 Atlantic County Business Impact Survey.  The survey was created and implemented in collaboration with the Atlantic City Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association, Atlantic County Economic Alliance, Brigantine Chamber of Commerce, Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce, Margate Business Association, Mays Landing Merchant Association, and Somers Point Business Association.

Launched exactly one month after Governor Murphy announced a statewide stay-at-home order and closure of all nonessential retail businesses, the survey addresses the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Atlantic County businesses.

The survey ran for two weeks from April into May, with 607 responses from 30 different industries. Overall results include:

  • 89% of businesses surveyed have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
  • 57% of respondents have less than nine employees.
  • 83% of respondents have less than 50 employees.
  • More than 70% of respondents expressed that lost sales and income—and negative cash flow because of delayed sales—are significant threats to continuing daily operations during the next three months.
  • 53% view delaying their business plan or strategy as another significant threat to continued operation over that time.
  • More than 49% of respondents stated they have less than four weeks of current cash flow to sustain the current pandemic.  25% have already exhausted their cash on hand.
  • 59% of respondents have already made staffing adjustments (either by layoffs or reduction of hours) in response to the negative impacts of COVID-19.  An additional 42% have delayed investment in projects.
  • 38% of respondents expressed that payroll is their most critical expense, followed by operating expenses.
  • 74% of businesses applied for economic relief, which includes but not limited to Payroll Protection Program, EDIL loans, NJEDA grants and loans.  Only 41% were approved for some form of aid.  80% of those businesses have started to receive funding from those sources.

“The foundation of Atlantic County is our small businesses. Now more than ever, we need to support them and strengthen our economy by putting employees back to work,” said Michael Chait, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.  “The survey provides data that we will share with our elected officials as we urge them to expedite the reopening of small businesses while adhering to critical health and safety guidelines set forth by government agencies and reputable industry associations.”

All participating organizations solicited online survey responses via direct email, electronic newsletters, and social media.