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Vaccine, federal funding, hiring: New survey reveals impact of COVID-19 on local business

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 00:03:46-05

We're taking a closer look at some new survey results detailing the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses.

More than 250 local businesses took part in the most recent Central Coast Coalition of Chambers' COVID-19 business impact survey.

It's a snapshot into the state of business during the purple tier.

"I think the most interesting part was that we're starting to see a ray of hope in our business owners," said Jim Dantona, Chair of the Central Coast Coalition of Chambers.

The survey reveals 26% of businesses are open in greater capacity in February compared to December.

"So the way it works right now is people can come and do tastings but right now it's restricted to outdoor tastings," said Nate Adamski, Operator of SLO Cider Co.

Adamski is one of the dozens of businesses that took part in the survey which ran from Feb. 1 through the 12th.

His business opened in mid-March last year so they haven't been able to get any federal or state financial assistance.

"So that's been kind of difficult because we haven't shown a loss because there was nothing to compare it to last year," Adamski explained.

Survey results show that 70% of participants applied for Paycheck Protection or California's Relief Grant Programs. Nearly 23% received confirmation approval.

When it comes to vaccines, more than 70% of business owners said they'd get it when it becomes available to them.

"I definitely plan on getting the vaccine but I'm only in my very early 60s so I'm going to be waiting a while," said Marianne Seaborne, Owner of Maison Marianne in San Luis Obispo.

Monday marks exactly two years of her owning the clothing store.

"My biggest concern is that our way of life is going to change permanently," Seaborne said.

Negative impact on job, income, and business was the biggest COVID concern by those surveyed, dropping more than 6 points since December's shutdown.

Meanwhile, while many businesses continue to face uncertainty, more than 36% said they'd plan to hire in the next month.

"We've had to expand our production capabilities to meet up with distribution and we are currently expanding the team slightly," Adamski said.

The findings from the survey are filtered back to all local chambers and governments to help businesses navigate during these unprecedented times.

"It's those things that help our city do the grant programs they've been doing. Amazing work coming out of those grant programs. The county,
when we go talk to the county about what local businesses need," Dantona said.