Recap of COVID-19 Business Impact Surveys

In April and May, Rural Oxford EDC staff conducted two COVID-19 Business Impact Surveys. Summary data from Rural Oxford’s first survey was shared directly with the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus regional survey 1.0.

The second survey was conducted as part of the local Oxford Connection group and summary data was shared collectively with the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus regional survey 2.0 to support regional advocacy measures.

Survey findings were also shared with Rural Oxford EDC’s Board, the five rural townships, and community partners such as Community Futures Oxford, Oxford County and Tourism Oxford as a means to help inform the development of local COVID-19 support programs.

The COVID-19 Business Impact Surveys helped us understand the immediate concerns across our region’s economy and allowed us the opportunity to respond sensitively to rapid changes and uncertainty facing our communities.

In follow up, our team conducted outreach calls and consultation to 76 businesses, created a quick-to-market $1000 Rural Oxford E-Business Grant Program; and began planning the PPE SafeStarter Kit Program- a joint initiative with the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.

We supported and promoted the many local programs that established or evolved to help our communities- from municipal support such as tax payment deferral to Community Future Oxford’s emergency business loans and grants through the Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund, Oxford Connection collaboration and Tourism Oxford’s Recovery Strategy.

If you are curious to learn more about the survey findings in those early coronavirus pandemic days, click the report covers below:

Rural Oxford EDC: COVID-19 Business Impact Survey 1.0

In this survey, Rural Oxford EDC asked Rural Oxford businesses to answer a set of questions about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to gain an understanding of where Rural Oxford businesses needed more support. 152 respondents took part in the survey.

The following are the key takeaways:

  • Over three quarters of respondents (77.63%) said that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on their business
  • 41.45% of respondents had to reduce their business’ hours of operation/production or close temporarily
  • The biggest risks facing businesses were employee related – layoffs reduced staff hours and being unable to pay staff wages
  • Almost 1 in 7 respondents needed immediate financial help, and over 2 in 5 respondents said they would need financial help in the next 6 months
  • The majority of businesses (87.5%) had applied for some form of COVID-19 government aid programs, but still required additional forms of financial aid

To view the full report, click here.

Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus: Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Business in Western Ontario 1.0

This survey was completed between March 19 – April 10 by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and was made available to the 15 member counties to determine the impact of COVID-19 on Western Ontario rural economies.

A total of 1838 business completed this survey, representing 10 counties in Western Ontario (Dufferin, Elgin, Grey, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Perth, Rural Oxford EDC, Tilsonburg, Wellington).

The following are the key takeaways:

  • 55% of businesses have 4 employees or less and 45% of those businesses will have difficulty making ends meet in the following months
  • Businesses are looking for support from the government in the form of Financial Aid (but not as loans), Employment Insurance supports for staff, and tax/ payment deferral
  • 46% of businesses said the impact of COVID-19 is significant and growing fast
  • 48% of businesses will either have to close their business temporarily or reduce their hours of operation

To view the full report, click here.

Oxford Connection: Business Impact Survey 2.0 – COVID-19 Impacts on Area Businesses

This was the second survey that Oxford Connection had conducted of businesses in Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Woodstock and Rural Oxford to capture an understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting Oxford County businesses. Survey results summarize the answers of 543 respondents.

The following are the key takeaways:

  • Almost half of the respondents (43.46%) said that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on their business and that impact is continually growing
  • Two thirds of respondents (62.95%) had to close their business temporarily
  • Businesses are most likely to reduce their hours of operations, layoff employees, implement work from home options, and access emergency loans to address the impact of COVID-19
  • Half of the respondents (52.07%) have accessed some sort of COVID-19 government support, predominantly accessing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Wage Subsidies, and the Canada Emergency Business Account

To view the full report, click here.

Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus: Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Business in Western Ontario 2.0

This second phase survey was launched in April by the member Counties of Western Ontario to determine the impact of COVID-19 on Western Ontario rural economies. The data collected will serve in developing regional recovery strategies.

2221 businesses spanning across 11 counties (Brant, Elgin, Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford, Dufferin, Grey, Lambton, Perth, Simcoe, and Wellington) completed this survey.

The following are the key takeaways:

  • 34% of businesses had to temporarily close and 2% of business had to permanently close
  • 57% of businesses have accessed government support, those who did not access support noting that they were unable to because they do not qualify
  • The most significant employee impacts are seen in businesses in the 5-19 employee range
  • Businesses are most likely to shut down operations, reduce their hours of operations, layoff employees, implement work from home options, and access emergency loans to address the impact of COVID-19
  • 30% of businesses said that they need financial grants/cash flow/emergency funds the most right now from their local municipal government

To view the full report, click here.