Wrangell Business Climate and COVID19 Impacts Survey, October 2020

The City & Borough of Wrangell hired Rain Coast Data in Juneau to assist with obtaining updated numbers to those previously cited from June. The data is current as of Thursday, October 8, 2020. There were 114 responses to the survey – a nearly 40% return rate. The most significant impacts are below:

  • Responding employers laid off 32% of their total workforce due to COVID-19 and the 2020 seafood season, and cancelled planned hires of 138 additional workers. Eleven percent (11%) of businesses expect to cut more staff over the next 12 months.
  • More than one-fifth (21%) of respondents say that they are at risk closing permanently (including 2% that say they have already closed). Another 43% are unsure about the future risk of closure.
  • Of those who answered “yes” to the risk of closure 23% have 10 or fewer weeks they can survive under the current situation. 77% of businesses at risk of closing won’t last a year under the current situation. Businesses in the tourism, retail, seafood, and maritime industries have the highest risk of closing due to the pandemic.
  • 37% of respondents feel that the upcoming year will be worse.
  • Wrangell business revenue was down 50% on average in 2020 so far, compared to the same period in 2019. By industry, the tourism sector experienced the greatest revenue losses at 77%. Commercial Fishing/Seafood is down 49%. Retail is down 49%.
  • The most significant impacts to Wrangell businesses from COVID-19 include lost revenue (reported by 79% of businesses), followed by loss of clientele (50%), and declining sales (44%).
  • Top challenges moving forward include trying to make good business decisions in the face of considerable uncertainty (reported by 54% of businesses), managing an unstable customer base (52%), depleted reserves (43%), paying off debts (43%), and a lack of ferry service (42%).
  • The help Wrangell businesses are most wanting include access to grants (63%), utility bill relief (41%), and financial assistance (35%).