Survey Measures Pandemic Impact on Area Business

As businesses prepare to welcome employees and customers through their doors, many are hoping the return marks relief from the financial pressures stemming from the pandemic-related economic situation. A recent economic impact survey conducted by the Knoxville Chamber revealed 52 percent of responding businesses experienced a decrease in sales with 62 percent characterizing that loss as extreme or high.

Those businesses reporting a loss attempted to adapt through adjusting hours of operation (33 percent) layoffs (24 percent), or drawing on their line of credit (13 percent). Overall, area firms project that they will need at least five months to rebound from the disruption in revenue.

Not all area businesses, however, were negatively impacted by the COVID-19-related environment. Two percent of respondents experienced an increase in sales, and seven percent reported an increase in consumer demand for their product or services. To meet the heightened need, approximately 1 percent of businesses increased their workforce, hiring an average of 12 employees overall.

On Monday, the City of Knoxville and Knox County announced a community strategy for phased reopening, effective Friday, May 1. Officials characterize the plan as a predictable, orderly mechanism to safely establish the new normal. The plan, in its entirety, can be found here and a helpful reopening chart can be found here