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Knox County businesses see major losses for year

By Stephen Betts | May 15, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Downtown Rockland from a previous summer.

Rockland — One out of six Knox County businesses have said they may not open this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting government restrictions.

The Maine Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives surveyed businesses around the state to collect feedback and suggestions on reopening Maine, as well as to provide information on Maine’s economic recovery.

The survey was done online from May 1 through May 6, before Gov. Mills outlined her rural reopening plan May 8 and the May 14 announcement that lodging places may take reservations for lodging from June 1 forward.

A total of 1,467 businesses responded to the “Re-starting Maine’s Economy” survey. Five percent (72) of the statewide responses were from businesses and organizations that are either in or do business in Knox County, said Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Thomas Peaco.

The following are results from the Knox County businesses:

Knox County restaurants responding to the survey estimated an average economic loss of 41% for 2020.

In Knox County, 83% of lodging respondents estimated economic losses of 75% or more for 2020.

In Knox County, retailers who responded to the survey collectively estimated 2020 economic losses at 58%.

Knox County respondents collectively estimated economic losses in 2020 at 50%, and had a similarly-even distribution of estimated losses.

Knox County respondents reported 3,177 pre-Covid-19 employees, 270 layoffs, 352 employees with reduced hours, and 184 positions unfilled due to the pandemic.

Of Knox County respondents, 17% said it was extremely unlikely that they would open.

In Knox County, 55% have accessed the paycheck protection program, 11% have been approved for economic injury disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration, and 1% have used the Workshare program.

The state Chamber also reported the following findings from the survey.

* A majority of respondents feel face coverings should be required.

* Respondents expressed a clear need for personal protection equipment and proper sanitizing equipment such as masks, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. Many are having a difficult time finding these items.

* Maine businesses are extremely supportive of implementing strict safety guidelines to protect employees and customers, and are looking for more detailed guidelines and clarification on how to safely reopen.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | May 18, 2020 09:50

Sorry Steve Betts, I hope you realize just how many of us appreciate the hard work you do keeping us all informed and on top of the leading area stores.  Perhaps Mr. Leach had you confused with the likes of Rachael Maddow and the other worthless CNN & MSNBC pundits.  You are one of the few remaining "journalists"  Thank you for showing up everyday.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | May 18, 2020 09:43

Old habits are hard to break.  This weekend  we went out to buy flowers for the garden.  My first thought was let's go to Lowes they have a good selection, then I woke up and said no let's go to Barley Joes and the Green Thumb.  Both locally owned businesses that need our help to stay open.  The same can be said for Good Tern co-op or Jesses seafood, or the local hardware stores.  Unless we all start supporting our local businesses they will not be here and instead we will line up like good sheep to feed at the Walmart feeding trough.

Posted by: James Clinton Leach | May 15, 2020 16:22

Steve good article vs your regurgitated national news story’s you post on FB...I wish you’d just stick to local and state news issues..

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