N.J. Chamber survey: All member businesses expect to feel negative impact of coronavirus

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Mar 16, 2020 at 12:16 pm

A majority of state chamber member companies said they expect their business to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with one-third deeming job losses top of mind, according to a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce snap survey conducted over the weekend.

The survey also found:

  • Two thirds of respondents have instituted hand sanitizer in the office and cancel meetings and conferences;
  • More than 58% said they have established a partial or complete travel ban and nearly half of them said they have made the ban indefinite.
  • Two thirds said the steps taken by the Murphy administration are appropriate.

“I think we can characterize the business community as concerned but not in a panic about the coronavirus outbreak,” said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “The steps businesses have taken are rational and measured. The challenge our members will face going forward is managing their businesses in an environment of almost unprecedented uncertainty.”

Negative impact

When asked how concerned they were over the COVID-19 outbreak, 85% surveyed said they were worried from a personal standpoint and 98% said they were worried from a business standpoint.

An overwhelming majority (92.4%) characterized the outbreak’s impact to be either “somewhat” or “strongly” negative.

When asked how the outbreak will affect their workforce, more than a third (34.3%0 said a downturn was either “somewhat” or “highly” expected. More than half (53.5%) don’t expect any change.

Actions taken

The top actions taken by businesses in response to the outbreak include:

  • Installing hand sanitizers (67.7%);
  • Cancelling meetings/conferences (62.3%)
  • Institute work from home provisions (59.5%) for some employees (37.7%) or all (21.8%).
  • Implement a travel ban (58.4%) with nearly half (47%) making the ban indefinite without a defined period of time.

Murphy administration

When asked to characterize the actions of the governor and his administration in the way they handled the outbreak this week, nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of respondents said they were appropriate, 21.2% said they were “insufficient” and 13.2% thought they were excessive.

The survey was conducted from Friday at 4 p.m. through Sunday at noon with 183 members responding.

Read more from ROI-NJ on coronavirus:

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader