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Coronavirus: Acadiana businesses expect sales, revenue declines; layoffs start

More than 90% of businesses in Acadiana expect sales or revenue declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a third already have laid off workers and many are unsure how long they can weather the distressed economy, according to a business impact survey conducted by economic development groups.

The survey — organized by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, One Acadiana and others — included 999 respondents and was conducted between March 19 and March 25.

Nearly 73% of the respondents said they expected revenues to be down significantly, and another 19% said they anticipated sales being down slightly. Only 5% said revenues would be the same, 1.7% said they would be up slightly, and 1.2% said they would be up significantly.

"This has been an extremely challenging time for our business owners as they adjust to a shifting landscape,” said One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman. “One Acadiana is working diligently with our partners throughout the region to provide solutions, guidance, and information to help navigate this difficult situation. But it will take more than just one organization. A solution for something like this will truly need to be a team effort."

Many of the businesses, 45%, are unsure how long they can weather the economic impact. About 22% said one month, and 7% said one week.

Layoffs have also been widespread among the surveyed businesses, and more may be on the way. About 35.5% of businesses said they had already laid off some employees. Another 33% said they aren't sure yet if they'll have to lay workers off.

The majority of the businesses said the layoffs would likely be five or less workers. Nearly 14% said it could be more than 20 workers.

The survey highlighted several of the effects the pandemic is having on businesses: watching spending more closely, event or order cancellations, fears of the workforce becoming ill, and others.

About 64% of the businesses said they had reduced their hours of operation, wages, shifts or work days as a result of the virus.

“LEDA is here to assist during this time of uncertainty when business owners are having to make tough decisions when it comes to their workforce; and many independent contractors, gig workers, and self-employed individuals are not working,” said LEDA President Gregg Gothreaux. “We are working together to get the most valuable commodity — information — to our business community and our workforce. Results from the business survey and the subsequent survey will help our organizations gauge where the most assistance is needed.”

About 41% of businesses said they were using remote work during the pandemic. Many of the businesses are also increasing their online presence, changing deliveries, or changing hours of operation.

The full overview of results can be found here.

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