Daily Breeze

BizFed survey: Most LA businesses are ready to reopen

The vast majority said stay-at-home orders severely impacted their revenue.

Most Los Angeles-based businesses are ready to reopen right now, but owners are worried their customers may not return and, even more so, about their ability to comply with coronavirus safety regulations, according to a new survey from the Los Angeles County Business Federation, also known as BizFed.

The survey, held between May 7 and 14, saw 722 responses from business leaders ranging from lawyers, accountants and consultants to nonprofit leaders, retailers, manufacturers and restaurateurs.

Most of the responses came from small-business owners with fewer than 500 employees, according to a summary statement and press release issued on Friday, May 22.

According to the survey results, 90% of businesses have suffered severe impacts from the various Safer-at-Home orders while 46% of them lost more than half of their projected 2020 revenue.

More than half of the businesses surveyed said they had to furlough or lay off employees; only about half of those businesses could affirmatively say they were going to bring back those employees.

The survey also points to some frustration within the business communities — nearly 60% said officials weren’t listening to their concerns.

About half of the businesses felt that new regulations — such as the state’s paid sick leave, family leave, unemployment benefits and others — make it more challenging to reopen their business. Meanwhile, 70% thought the state needed to reassess AB 5, a newly passed bill that re-categorizes many freelancers and contractors as full-time employees.

The majority of businesses surveyed, about 55%, feel local governments have not provided enough guidance for eventual reopening plans, leading most business owners to cite compliance as their top concern for reopening.

Their second biggest concern is consumer confidence: Will the old clientele come back?

“We urgently need government to outline the rules of the road and get out of the way to give employers certainty going forward to keep our employees, customers and vendors safe and healthy while we await an effective treatment and a reliable vaccine,” BizFed Chief Executive and Founder Tracy Hernandez said in the news release.