COVID Impact

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Judy Johnson
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Sharon and Rich Curlis
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We thank all those who took the time to provide their insight on how COVID has impacted their business and the challenges they still face.

COVID-19: The impact of the pandemic on Florida’s small businesses

2020 has been a turbulent year. From illness and natural disasters to unemployment and economic instability. Everyone has experienced loss and hardship, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will have a longstanding impact.

“…no business plan allows for something like this kind of setback.” – Sheryl Webster, The Refinery Barre Fitness Studios, Tallahassee

The pandemic has initiated the need for greater safety and sanitation practices at homes, workplaces, and businesses alike. It has forced many people to stay indoors, avoid travel, and the resulting financial strain has prompted many to tighten their budget and cut back on consumer spending. For business owners this means making tough decisions such as changing operating procedures, laying off employees, or in some cases, closing down altogether.

To explore the impact of the pandemic on the state’s small businesses, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the Florida Chamber Foundation, and the University of West Florida Haas Center partnered to conduct a survey of Florida’s small businesses during the summer of 2020. This survey was designed to identify the types of small businesses that were affected by the pandemic and assess the damage to business operations overall. 4,842 business owners from over 95 percent of Florida’s counties participated in the survey, and the results are compelling. To read the comprehensive survey and the resulting analysis, visit COVID-19 Small Business Impact Report.

We know there’s more to the story. Along with our quantitative study, we’ve also interviewed more than 100 small business owners from across the state. We’ve heard incredible stories of resilience, and we’ve heard some heartbreaking stories of businesses on the brink of closure.

To view stories from small businesses across the state, click here.