John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
SURVEY RESULTS: How Newtown Township Businesses Are Dealing With COVID-19 Restrictions

"Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Measures." These are indeed extraordinary times with many businesses forced to close and millions of people out of work due the measures necessary to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. And municipalities like Newtown Township that depend upon business and job related taxes (e.g., Earned Income Tax or EIT) face financial difficulties if the shutdown continues much longer and people do not get their jobs back.

This over-dependency on business-related tax can lead to what I call a "COVID-19 Domino Effect." At the April 22, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting, the Township Manager suggested that he will recommend that the general operating budget be supported by a real estate tax next year. Currently, all RE tax collected is earmarked for debt reduction and emergency services.

To help keep the township afloat until the end of the year, the township has already made some "drastic" choices. For more about that read "Rough Road Ahead for Newtown Township".

As goes the success of local businesses, so goes the business of Newtown Township

To stay financial solvent, it behooves the Township to do all it can to help local businesses. As a Newtown Township Supervisor I expect that I will be called upon to make critical decisions in the coming weeks and months in response to the dire financial impact on Newtown Township of the Coronavirus pandemic and the emergency mitigation measures currently in place. Consequently, it is important that have the necessary information and feedback from local businesses to make the right decisions. That is why I hosted the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. To date I have received responses from 34 local area companies and 21 companies specifically located in Newtown Township. Follow the link at the bottom of this page for a summary of responses to this survey from all 34 local businesses and specifically from 21 businesses located in Newtown Township.

Survey Questions

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Name of your business? (Optional)
  3. What best describes your type of business?
  4. Where is your business located?
  5. How many salaried employees do you have, including yourself?
  6. What are your top concerns in operating your business during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
  7. Is your company open, operating at a reduced capacity, or closed as a result of COVID-19?
  8. Were any changes that you made to your hours of operation done proactively, mandated, or because of a change in demand?
  9. Have you had to reduce the number of employees working for your business as a result of the COVID-19?
  10. If your workforce has been reduced or you anticipate a reduction, please indicate how many employees are/may be impacted.
  11. How do you expect your sales/revenues to change in 2020 Q1Q2 because of COVID-19?
  12. What is your most pressing need right now local government may be able to help with?
What is your most pressing need right now?

When asked, What is your most pressing need right now? How can local government help?, these are the responses I received:

  • Covering high lease payment in Village at Newtown
  • Being that we are an appointment based operation, we can limit the amount of people at our establishment. With no other source of income, it has been tough getting by with our lease rent. If social distancing and sanitizing precautions are met, I can’t see why we can’t keep our locations at a minimum and continue to operate.
  • Funding to landlords and shopping center owners to assist them with not getting rent payments. This is a trickle down effect that is needed ASAP. Help shopping center owners > Businesses get relief from rent > Helps us stay in business > Keeps people working!
  • Loan & rent forgiveness! Need to put on back end. Stimulus money to help us get back in. We have paid our staff prior to pay period & have given them food for their homes . Rough having people out of work for 2 months when they live paycheck to paycheck!
  • Grants or stimulus packages to help small businesses. A 6 month moratorium on any signage/ banners to promote business such as Grand Re-Opening, special sales, etc.
  • Access to paycheck protection program. Access to unemployment
  • Need to get PPP loan. Applied day 1, have yet to receive funds. This will allow us to remain open. Without it, we will likely close.
  • I cannot apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because my independent local bank is not offering it. All other local banks are only offering this service to their current customers.
  • Not sure if I qualify for any assistance as I don't have a payroll. I pay my performers after they perform, but I have lost a great deal of income with all my programs being cancelled from March 12 through the foreseeable future.
  • The ability to get materials for job. Places being closed or limited hours & materials is making it hard to do jobs in a timely manner. My biggest issue customers canceling jobs due to them losing their job or unsure if they will have a job for long. Local government can help by continuing to encourage social distancing, shelter in place, & limit their travel.
  • Cash flow. Loss of revenue
  • Funds! I was open for three weeks and was forced to close. Not sure I can rebound after this.
  • As a sole proprietor who is not able to operate my business, the most pressing need is funds to be able to pay my bills until business returns months from now. Once this does come to an end, a huge focus on local business and getting people out again will be needed.
  • ·I'm fine here. But I know many freelancers, gig economy type workers and other 1099ers are out of work and need help. Whatever can be done to help them would be greatly appreciated by them I'm sure.
  • Keeping us informed, Follow federal government guidelines.
  • Nothing right now. We operate nationally and can’t complete insurance applications right now due to exam companies being unable/unwilling to complete the required insurance exams.
  • Getting us all to follow the personal distancing rules as set out by our leaders in government. I believe if we all follow that, this will run its course quicker. I do believe our Government has done a pretty good job considering the situation.

Download a complete summary (here) of responses to this survey from 21 Newtown Township businesses. View a summary (here) of ALL 34 responses. No identifiable information is included in the summaries.

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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