BETHLEHEM — Around 40 Bethlehem businesses, or 44 percent of 90 local businesses surveyed by the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, reported they are in danger of closing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The survey asked local businesses questions about how they have been affected by the pandemic.
According to a press release on Thursday, April 9, around 86 businesses (95 percent) reported a negative economic impact, 40 businesses (44 percent) reported they’ve laid off employees and 31 businesses (34 percent) reported supply chain problems. Such supply chain problems included increased prices on supplies and shipping delays.
The survey also found that all the surveyed businesses have operated for 21 years on average.
However, the press release neither named the businesses nor specified what types of businesses took the survey. Maureen McGuinness, president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, said it’s because the businesses had been assured their responses would be kept confidential.
“I don’t think any of us expected to see that 44 percent of businesses are in danger of closing,” she added. “As we recover from this crisis it will be more important than ever for people to buy their goods and services locally.”
Vince Crisafulli, chairperson of the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee said recovery efforts are important. “We can’t put additional financial burdens such as mandatory paid sick leave and increased minimum wage in the face of what is sure to be a rocky road to recovery,” he said. “Also, local governments should think about their school and property tax collection expectations.”
He added that his committee looks to develop strategies to help government at all levels understand the importance of shopping local.
“Small businesses support every youth sports team and charitable event in town,” he concluded. “We need local government to think of these businesses first when they are spending our tax dollars.”
For more information about the survey, contact the Bethlehem Chamber at 518-439-0915.
Spotlight News is working on a follow-up on this story soon.