Impact of COVID-19 over small and medium business. All those businesses deemed not essential has been ordered to close.Coronavirus outbreak, Toronto, Canada - 26 Mar 2020

WalletHub’s newly launched Coronavirus Small Business Survey found an overwhelming number of businesses are being negatively impacted by the coronavirus, while a large number say the government is not doing enough to help.

The survey found 87 percent of business owners noting that COVID-19 is hurting their business while 35 percent “say their business can only survive for less than three months in current conditions,” authors of the report said.

The survey results followed a WWD report that showcased several grant programs — both private and public — aimed at helping small businesses. In the U.S., there are more than 30 million companies described as a “small business.” In Canada, there are about 1.1 million, according to Statistics Canada’s Business Register.

Digging deeper in the WalletHub report showed business owners are prioritizing health over the economy. Of those polled, 79 percent “think that minimizing COVID-19 deaths is more important than reopening the economy.”

The report also found that many “business owners feel neglected: 68 percent of small business owners think that the government is not doing enough to help small businesses right now.”

WalletHub’s Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive officer, said there are “a few clear reasons for” the broad impact of COVID-19 on small business. “For one thing, hardly any business is unaffected,” Papadimitriou said. “It’s not like just a sector or two of the economy has taken a downturn. Most businesses are going to zero revenue, and most businesses can’t survive long without any cash flow. Like most consumers, most businesses have too little saved and too much debt to hunker down and ride out this type of shock to the system without outside intervention.”

The ceo also said one-third of small business owners “say they have laid off employees due to COVID-19, and a slightly higher share — 36 percent — plan to do so.”

“Everyone should make a plan for what to do in the event they lose their income, just in case,” Papadimitriou said. “This whole event should really hammer home the importance of having an emergency fund.”