Vaccine and mask mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic are hurting small businesses, a new survey conducted by Clarify Capital finds.
Sixty-one percent of more than 200 brick-and-mortar and online small businesses say they are being negatively impacted by COVID-19 and its variants and foresee those negative impacts to continue into 2022.
According to Clarify Capital, a small business funding enterprise, the survey focused on 231 small business owners who reported operating either in-store, or on-site.
The respondents ranged in age from 19 to 62 and were divided between 54 percent women and 44 percent men, and 2 percent nonbinary.
The negative impacts the businesses report include enforcing mask mandates on-site and affording the cost of providing PPE to employees and customers.
Seventy-seven percent of the businesses surveyed said they currently require masks at their sites, and 37 percent of those fear losing customers because of mandates.
Only 18 percent do not currently have a mask mandate, and another 5 percent say they will likely have one soon.
The fear of losing customers rises among each of those groups with 39 percent of businesses without a mandate, and 45 percent of those likely to put one in place soon, fear customers will be lost once the mandate is in place.
Some 41 percent of businesses with mask mandates report having confrontations with clients or customers over the mask mandates, with a like number, 40, saying it is either somewhat, or very difficult, to enforce.
Most of the businesses surveyed said that the top priority is protecting their employees (74 percent), and customers (56 percent).
While there are issues and costs, 66 percent of those surveyed want the government to enforce the mandates, making it easier for them to demand compliance and enforce their own safety measures.
Just 10 percent of the businesses said they don’t want a government enforced “proof of vaccination” law because they believe it would be bad for their business, according to the survey.
Most of the businesses (78 percent) want the government to provide more financial aid to help cover the cost of PPE equipment and safety measures, with spending an average of $1,191 in the last year, or $327 a month on that equipment.
These additional costs are mostly handled by lowering profits, according to 57 percent of the businesses surveyed, with another 44 percent being paid “out of pocket,” 15 percent using small business loans, and just 10 percent passing the costs on to customers.
Less than half of those surveyed, 45 percent, think their business will survive another lockdown, and 19 percent believe it would shutter their business.
Clarify admits the survey has limitations because it is based on self-reporting and has no statistical testing or a margin of error.
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