Survey: North Fulton businesses worry about the future

Canton Street in downtown.  CITY OF ROSWELL
Canton Street in downtown. CITY OF ROSWELL

More than half of 800 businesses in North Fulton recently surveyed say they are uncertain their establishments will survive the coronavirus pandemic.

A COVID Business Impact Survey conducted by six cities in North Fulton and the Georgia Department of Economic Development revealed that 37% of businesses contacted have had to cut staff since the pandemic began. The cities hope the findings will help them offer support to the businesses.

Earlier in April, North Fulton cities and business organizations, as well as the Georgia Department of Economic Development partnered to conduct a COVID Business Impact Survey. Andrea Worthy, economic development director for Sandy Springs, presented preliminary findings of the survey during last week's City Council meeting. The respondents represented Sandy Springs, Roswell, Mountain Park, Alpharetta, Milton and Johns Creek. Professions ranged from law to medical and dental to retail, house cleaning and construction.

“We thought there was a need for a business survey…to really understand what businesses need, said Worthy, during the meeting.

City officials will use the results to find local and regional resources helpful to business owners, she added. In early findings, survey results showed, 90% of businesses have had a reduction in weekly revenue since the start of the public health crisis. That has led 65% of the survey takers to contact a financial lender.

In staffing, 20% of the businesses owners said they expect to permanently lay off workers over the next three months. More than double that number, 45%, had not yet figured out if they could keep the same number of employees on staff, or if they would have to lay some off permanently.

In addition to North Fulton cities, Roswell Inc, the economic development firm for the city of Roswell, and the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce partnered to conduct the survey. They also created Spanish version of the questions asked, said Worthy. They are planning additional surveys in the future.

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