Survey shows 74% of Central Florida businesses feeling impact from COVID-19, 55% have laid off staff or shortened work hours

VIDEO: 55% of surveyed local businesses report layoffs, reduced workforce

ORLANDO, Fla. — On Tuesday, Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones told you that the local economy is losing millions in sales taxes and tourist development taxes each day the economy is at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And now, Jones has the results of a survey sponsored by the Orlando Economic Partnership to help us gauge the true impact to local businesses.

Jones learned the survey yielded results from 219 businesses locally, and a majority in the service industry.

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Results show local businesses are struggling with limited hours and services.

Here are some real numbers to help you understand the money being lost:

  • 74% of businesses surveyed report they are already feeling the impact, with about a 60% drop in sales revenue.
  • 55% have moved forward with layoffs and shortened hours for their workforce.
  • The majority responding are service-based small to very small businesses, which means they have anywhere from one to 99 employees.

“Right now, accurate, concise, timely information is important in mitigating this impact,” said Dale Bill, director of research for the partnership.

In a strongly worded public statement released this week, the partnership and its leadership expressed concerns about the long-term effects of COVID-19, stating: "Low numbers of available COVID-19 tests are causing and will continue to cause unnecessary spreading of the virus and widespread economic impacts…. We respectfully ask for and strongly encourage a more aggressive and unwavering response at the state and federal level!"

9 Investigaties ran the raw numbers and showed you earlier this week the potential loss in sales tax revenue.

Traditionally in March, the seven counties the partnership represents have generated anywhere from $419 million to $460 million in sales tax revenue, going up each of the last three years. And the revenue released at the end of this month won’t tell us the real story because they are usually at least a month behind.

“We will be talking about the earliest signals, about how deep the impact has been. It'll be three months, maybe even five months from now,” Brill says.

The partnership will run another survey next month. Click here for details.

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