COVID-19 Business Impact, Downtown Visitor survey findings released
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Contact: Meghan Behymer | Communications + Marketing Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 269-344-0795
In May and June, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership conducted a series of surveys to gauge both the impact of COVID-19 on downtown businesses and the comfortability of the community in returning to downtown Kalamazoo businesses.
COVID-19 Downtown Business Impact Assessment
In May, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership conducted an online survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on downtown businesses.
Responses were collected for a period of 18 days, beginning Thursday, May 14, from a total of 64 downtown businesses, the majority representing the retail, food and drink, and services sector. Most respondents were locally owned (84%), small businesses (78 percent reported having 15 or fewer employees) and more than 65 percent of respondents had been in operation for more than 10 years.
The findings in the COVID-19 Downtown Business Impact Assessment highlight the significant challenges faced by the downtown Kalamazoo business community due to COVID-19, including:
- COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on business revenue.
- Of the respondents, 95 percent of businesses reported lost revenue due to COVID-19, with 45 percent reporting a 75 percent or more decrease in revenue.
- Fifty-nine percent of businesses reported having to lay off employees, with 30 percent expecting to re-hire fewer than were laid off.
- Forty-two percent of business respondents reported a moderate to very high likelihood of permanent closure if the crisis continues. At the time of the survey, respondents cited losing work or sales, customer traffic, and preparing for reopening as their top concerns.
- Most businesses that applied for federal, state, and or local financial assistance received some assistance, but 44 percent reported having difficulty finding the resources.
- Ninety-four percent reported having applied for federal, state, and/or local assistance
- Eighty-one percent reported having received federal, state, and/or local assistance.
Back to Business Downtown Visitor Survey
In June, resulting from roundtable discussions with downtown businesses, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership released the Back to Business Downtown Visitor Survey designed to assess customer comfortability as businesses begin to reopen and adopt new practices and operations in response to COVID-19.
Responses were collected for a period of 15 days, beginning Tuesday, June 16, from a total of 200 respondents across nearly 25 different surrounding zip codes. Findings included:
- Overall, respondents reported higher comfortability in being outdoors amid the pandemic.
- Respondents reported being most comfortable using curbside pickup for meals (92%), dining outdoors (64%), and ordering food for delivery (84.9%).
- Respondents reported being most comfortable picking up retail items curbside (92%) and visiting outdoor markets (75.4%).
- Respondents reported feeling comfortable in open, outdoor spaces, though many might look to avoid crowds or crowded public spaces outdoors.
- Responses were mixed on comfortability indoors depending on the type of business.
- Respondents reported that they were not comfortable sitting indoors at a restaurant (57.3%) or bar (67.2%)
- More than half of respondents agreed that they were comfortable visiting a retail shop walk-in (61.3%) or by appointment (63.1%).
- Respondents reported not feeling comfortable going to a gym/fitness studio (63.3%) or an indoor event venue (66.3%)
- Respondents reported being likely to wear masks and sanitize hands while in public, and also reported several business practices that would make them feel more comfortable patronizing a business. Based on the responses, the business practices most important to customers in response to COVID-19 is requiring both employees and customers to wear masks, conducting employee screening, communicating measures taken, and limiting occupancy.
Utilizing the information provided through the surveys and in business roundtables, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership announced the Downtown Kalamazoo Outdoor Experience Program on July 2. The program offers businesses creative and flexible opportunities to use public space for dining, retail sales and services, providing both a unique visitor experience outdoors and additional space to offset capacity restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.
Businesses submit a basic questionnaire to the Downtown Partnership outlining how they want to use the space, and with few limitations, will be able to conduct business in the space adjacent to their buildings through October 31, 2020.
About Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is a private, non-profit organization that works with both the public and private sectors in preserving and enhancing the economic health of Kalamazoo’s downtown area and, in turn, the Kalamazoo community. In conjunction with its affiliate organizations, it manages a full range of activities that include capital improvement projects, business development and recruitment programs, image marketing and event planning in order to establish Downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center. For more information, visit downtownkalamazoo.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
###COVID-19 Visitor Report COVID-19 Impact Assessment