One in Six Nebraska Businesses Fear Closing for Good

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts speaks during a coronavirus news conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Nebraska Governor’s Office)
Grant Schulte
The Associated Press

The coronavirus has hurt a vast majority of Nebraska’s businesses and about one in six of them are worried that it will force them to close their doors permanently.

The report released Tuesday from the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha highlights the sweeping damage caused by the coronavirus and the steps taken to keep it from spreading, including business closures and social-distancing measures.

The report said 87% of Nebraska businesses have been hurt by the pandemic. The hardest-hit industries have been the arts, entertainment and recreation; health care and social assistance; educational services; and food services.

The results came from the first of two planned surveys that state officials will use to help them decide what they can do to help companies recover. The initial survey of nearly 8,000 Nebraska businesses was conducted from April 15-24, and the second is scheduled for June.

“This has a huge impact on Nebraska businesses, and what this survey kind of does is quantify what we qualitatively already know,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said.

Ricketts said businesses were generally most concerned about accessing cash to stay afloat, the duration of the pandemic, and the drop in consumer confidence and spending.

Cathy Lang, the center’s director and a former Nebraska economic development administrator, said the impact on local companies has been “vast, touching every part of Nebraska and every industry in Nebraska.”

Lang said most businesses reported losing revenue but were still trying to maintain their workforce, even though unemployment claims have recently surged to record highs. About two-thirds of the businesses surveyed said they had either applied for federal coronavirus assistance or were considering it.



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