COVID-19 Business Impact Survey Results

The City of Boulder surveyed local businesses and nonprofits in April and October 2020 to better understand and respond to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 1,200 business or nonprofit representatives completed the April survey and more than 500 completed the October survey. Survey participants represented a broad range of organizations.

Nearly all survey participants reported their business or nonprofit had been impacted by the pandemic. More described the impact as “significant” in April (79%) than October (68%) suggesting that easing of public health restrictions and the availability of financial and other assistance provided some relief and indicating many entities had adapted by changing their operations.

The type and degree of impact varied by business size, industry, and other characteristics. Businesses in the restaurant/bar, personal services, arts, entertainment and recreation, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare industries and minority-owned businesses were more likely than other businesses to report a significant impact. More than eight in ten businesses reported negative financial impacts in April than in October. More than half the businesses had significantly reduced operations or closed due to the pandemic and most had made changes to staffing levels.

By October, more than 90% of businesses had made changes to operations including introducing new health and safety measures, closing facilities to the public, discontinuing onsite sales or services, or increasing the number of employees working from home. Other actions taken by businesses included canceling or postponing large meetings or events, postponing plans to upgrade facilities or equipment, and canceling contracts with vendors or service providers. Nearly three-fourths of businesses expected operational changes such as new cleaning protocols or virtual meetings to continue after the pandemic.

Many businesses reported using some form of outside assistance to address impacts of the pandemic including financial assistance (68%), information resources (39%), and technical assistance (30%). Nearly half indicated a need for additional financial assistance to help address continuing impacts.

The Dec. 15, 2020 Information Item: Update on COVID-19 Pandemic Business Impacts and Boulder Economic Trends memorandum provided a summary of results from the Boulder COVID-19 Business Impact Follow Up Survey (October 2020), additional context concerning local economic trends and priority economic response and recovery areas for additional consideration.

The Apr. 28, 2020 Boulder COVID Business Impact Survey (Executive Summary and Final Report) memorandum reported findings of the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey (April 2020).