As New Jersey Reopens, Survey Finds Businesses Owners Adjusting to COVID-19 Crisis

State officials released a survey they say shows while businesses are eager to reopen, owners are taking the public health risks posed by COVID-19 seriously and the responsibility to provide a safe experience for employees and customers. 

The online survey was conducted for the state by Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, drawing responses from nearly 4,000 businesses and nonprofits across New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy stated the survey reiterated much of what his administration anticipated in beginning the process of restarting the economy,

Second Wave Worries

“While business owners are eager to get back to work and get their operations back up and running, they remain concerned about consumer and employee confidence and are eager to avoid a second wave of this insidious virus,” said Murphy in a press release.

Fifty-one percent of owners cited consumer confidence as the most pressing issue, while 13% cited access to personal protective equipment as their biggest concern. 

The majority of respondents (54%) will rely on state/local government and Department of Health guidelines—greater than those who will rely on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (23%) and industry and association guidelines (14%).

Consumer Confidence

The survey reported about 10% of respondents said employee confidence would present the biggest challenge to reopening while four in 10 listed employee confidence as one obstacle but not the most pressing one.

Customer-facing businesses report that limiting occupancy or reducing capacity of their facilities will be the most difficult challenge.

Other survey findings include:

  • 70% indicate they will re-configure their workplace footprint
  • 35% expanded remote work options in response to the pandemic or are considering it in order to reduce the number of employees at work
  • 79% of businesses in customer-facing industries will require employees and provide facemasks in the workplace
  • 72% customer-facing businesses will require customers/visitors to wear facemasks

Paying Bills

The ability to pay their bills weighed heavily on respondents. The survey found 68% are concerned with their ability to pay their rent, mortgage, or utilities, 48% said paying their employees and 47% ability to pay their taxes were major challenges organizations are facing.

“As we make our way through the recovery of our economy, we continue to be mindful of the businesses we know are hurting,” Murphy said. “As our numbers continue to move in the right direction, we will continue to restart our economy in phases while offering financial aid to as many businesses as possible.”

The roughly 4,000 responses from business and non-profit owners or decision makers, were collected between May 21 and June 3, mirror the New Jersey business community in size and industry composition, according to Rutgers. Most respondents have less than 10 employees, and most have been in operation for at least 10 years. Half of respondents are from woman- or minority-owned businesses. 

Daily Data

As of June 14, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 166,881 with 305 new cases and 40 new deaths, bringing that total to 12,625. 

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,745, followed by Bergen at 1,662, Hudson with 1,254, Passaic at 999, Morris at 636, Sussex at 149 and Warren with 138. 

State Testing 

Officials reported 1,391 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus while 108 patients were discharged. The north tier had 626 patients hospitalized, the central 445 and the south 320.

Of those hospitalized, 386 are in intensive care units and 285 on ventilators. There are currently six patients in field hospitals, with 475 treated overall. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 18,811, followed by Hudson at 18,746, Essex at 18,364, Passaic at 16,627, Middlesex at 16,430, Union at 16,322, Ocean at 9,244, Monmouth at 8,740, Mercer at 7,351, Camden at 7,018, Morris at 6,581, Burlington at 4,876, Somerset at 4,759, Cumberland at 2,666, Atlantic at 2,490, Gloucester at 2,414, Warren at 1,202, Sussex at 1,154, Hunterdon at 1,039, Salem at 706 and Cape May at 671.

Another 633 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 59% had cardiovascular disease, 43% diabetes, 32% other chronic diseases, 17% neurological conditions, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. 

A census of ages for 9,941 confirmed deaths shows 47% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 33% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 4% under the age of 49. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 554 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 35,271 of the cases, broken down between 23,504 residents and 11,767 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, which was 5,927 on June 14. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,317 residents deaths and 115 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 3235 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1685 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 926  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 11  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2154 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1013 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 564  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 19  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1404 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 682 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 472  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1256 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 756 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 367  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 14  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 991 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 530 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 248  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 8  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 255 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 144 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 107  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 407 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 132 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 113  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

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