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Survey shows early impacts of coronavirus crisis on Colorado Springs businesses

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce has released results of a survey of 176 businesses showing the impact of coronavirus during the early days of the outbreak locally.

The chamber made the results public Monday, more than two weeks after authorities initiated social distancing guidelines and several days after Gov. Jared Polis increased restrictions by calling for a stay-at-home order.

"The survey was from March 18 to 23," said Cecilia Harry, the chamber's chief economic development officer. "So admittedly, it's somewhat outdated now with all that's happened since. But it gives us an idea of the degree to which businesses were affected early on. We can use that data to bring them relief and help them recover."

The survey found that 78% of businesses lost sales, 53% had issues with their supply chain of products and materials, and 43% either have no recovery plan or are uncertain about having one.

Harry said 15% of respondents are restaurants or related businesses, and it's unclear how they'll be affected by changes in working after the pandemic ends.

"We, as a society, are going to look at gatherings differently," she said. "Are we going to be comfortable gathering in larger places? Are we going to be comfortable sending our kids off to dorms? All of those things have ripple effects."

Harry said a lost customer base, canceled events and conferences, and a decline in tourism are the three main factors affecting businesses.

"The latter two should come back eventually," she said. "Some events are already being rescheduled, such as the Space Symposium. We're still going to have the same attractions that people want to see. "

Two industries that are holding steady or thriving during the crisis, Harry said, are the defense industry and professional and technical services.

"They're doing well because they still have needs from their clients and they're not tied to face-to-face interactions," she said.

Some business employees who talked about negative impacts of the crisis two weeks ago, likely are less optimistic about the future now that Polis has extended the stay-at-home order.

"It's been a little bit worse than we expected," said Meredith Klube, a manager at Jack Quinn's Pub & Restaurant. "We've laid off 90% of our employees. This is a place that people want to come to eat, hear live music and stay for a few hours. We can sustain depending on takeout for a very long time."

Josh Mullins, who was laid off from his job as a restaurant manager, believes that more local and family restaurants -- like Western Omelette and the King's Chef Diner -- won't recover from the crisis.

"People are going to look back on this in 20 years and see how it changed the world," he said. "This will change how we all interact in the future."

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


1 Comment

  1. Most of us restaurant personal worked paycheck to paycheck plus a lot of us worked 2 or 3 jobs. Now some have closed and others are close to closing perm. lord help us

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