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Chamber reviews feedback from business community as pandemic rolls into autumn

What started off as a brutal spring for the local business community blossomed into a busy summer for many throughout Cook County, according to the results of a recently completed survey.

The Cook County Chamber of Commerce shared the results of the ‘Fall 2020 Business Health Survey for Cook County’ with WTIP this week. According to Chamber Director Jim Boyd, they received 76 responses, which represents roughly 20 percent of Cook County businesses.

As indicated by the survey responses, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected Cook County businesses in dramatically different ways. Boyd said it’s reassuring that 85 percent of businesses are quite confident they will still exist in six months, but worrisome that the remaining 15 percent are only ‘somewhat’ confident or not at all confident of survival.

Similarly, while it’s great that more than 40 percent of businesses report revenue of 100 percent or more so far this year compared to last, another 40 percent report revenue of 80 percent or less compared to a year ago, and a very worrisome one-quarter of businesses report revenue of 70 percent or less, Boyd said.

According to Boyd, one very large red flag stands out in the survey: More than 50 percent of businesses reported their summer staff was insufficient. The effect of this staff shortage was most apparent in the number of businesses – especially restaurants – forced to close in the middle of each week so their staff could rest from the extreme workload it was forced to bear the rest of the week.

Boyd spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the business survey and what it means moving forward. The audio to their conversation in shared below.