Nearly 90 percent of SLO businesses losing revenue, survey finds

Nearly 90 percent of San Luis Obispo businesses have lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, while 37 percent have seen more than three-quarters decreases in revenue, according to a SLO Chamber of Commerce survey. [Tribune]

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce polled member businesses on a variety of matters pertaining to their current financial struggles. More than 230 businesses responded to the survey. 

About 73 percent of the survey responses came from businesses based in the city of San Luis Obispo, while the other 27 percent came from businesses scattered throughout SLO County. Respondents were from industries including home building, insurance, fitness, transportation, real estate and food and beverage.

Of local businesses participating in the survey, 32 percent said they have closed temporarily. Approximately 27 percent of respondents said they have laid off one employee or more, while 24 percent of businesses reported furloughing at least one worker. 

Approximately 42 percent of companies that rent their business space said they have not been able to pay their rent in full. Likewise, about 40 percent of businesses reported a need for penalty-free extensions on expenses such as rent, utilities, supplies and inventory. 

Nearly 80 percent of businesses surveyed said revenue and cash flow is the area in which they have the greatest need for assistance.

Fifty-two percent of businesses said they have canceled events.

A majority of participants in the survey are also struggling to obtain business loans from the federal government. More than 57 percent have not yet received a response to their stimulus business loan applications.

Of survey participants, 181 businesses have applied for financial assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program or Paycheck Protection Program, two components of the federal stimulus package that make business loans available. 

In similar fashion to the SLO Chamber of Commerce, The South County Chambers of Commerce is also conducting a survey of businesses. More than 100 businesses have already responded to it, South County Chambers of Commerce CEO Jocelyn Brennan told the Tribune.

Thus far, less than 5 percent of the businesses that have responded to the South County survey said they have received federal stimulus business loans.

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