Businesses Weigh in on How to Pursue a Safe, Effective Reopening Process in Colorado Chamber Survey

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DENVER – The Colorado Chamber today released the results of a survey conducted on the business community to inform state officials as they prepare policies and guidelines for Colorado’s phased reopening process. The survey covers the top concerns of businesses and initiatives the state can pursue to assist them.

“Businesses are largely supportive of a phased reopening process across the state, but any new guidance and regulations need to be clear and consistent,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal relations for the Colorado Chamber. “Some of the primary concerns of the business community include access to personal protective equipment and enhanced testing, clarifications in legal liability and unemployment insurance, and providing much needed financial relief to the extent possible. We look forward to working with state leaders as they contemplate how to aid businesses through these challenging times and safely get Coloradans back to work.”

The survey, conducted from April 20-22, 2020, includes responses from more than 80 businesses of all sizes across the state representing a wide variety of diverse industries. Survey highlights include:

  • Half of businesses surveyed support reopening non-essential businesses with a phased-in approach while 37% believe it should happen as soon as possible. 12% believe it’s too early to consider reopening non-essential businesses.
  • When asked what resources and essential services businesses anticipate needing to support a phased reopening, the top requests from businesses were improved COVID-19 testing capabilities (26%), support for additional personal protective and safety equipment (24%), and very clear guidance from the state for how and when certain businesses should reopen (15%).
  • A striking 97% would like the state to clarify that Unemployment Insurance claims should not count against their experience rating.
  • 48% of businesses would like to see tax relief to assist with a phased reopening. Of those that indicated they’d like to see some form of tax relief, 41% support general tax relief for businesses, 28% would like to see property tax relief, 19% would like to see payroll tax relief, and 19% would like additional time to file taxes.
  • 45% of businesses are concerned about legal liability issues, such as getting sued if an employee contracts the virus when returning to work.
  • Survey results indicate that federal business assistance like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is not helping everyone who needs it. Only 31% of participants say they have benefited from federal assistance. 71% of those that did not benefit from federal assistance say it’s because they did not qualify due to tax status or business size.
  • 46% of businesses would like the state to review the regulations that have been temporarily waived during the pandemic and consider whether they should be permanently repealed. Examples mentioned by survey participants include regulations on alcohol delivery, telehealth services, and remote notary services.
  • Many businesses said they will consider continuing or expanding their work-from-home policies post-pandemic (17%) and some are reconsidering their long-term office space needs (6%).

View full survey report by clicking here.

This is the third survey conducted on businesses by the Colorado Chamber since the COVID-19 pandemic began. View the first survey here and the second survey here.