Press Releases

Chamber Releases New Estimates of COVID-19 Business Impact as of April 2

Friday, 3 April, 2020

Memphis, Tenn. (April 3, 2020)- The Greater Memphis Chamber today released the latest numbers from its ongoing COVID-19 Greater Memphis Business Impact Survey.

Based on current responses from 150 area business owners in the Greater Memphis region as of April 2, the Chamber estimates the following impacts on Memphis area businesses as a direct result of COVID-19:

Business Impact

  • 25 percent of companies said business was about the same for Feb and March 2020 as it was for Feb and March 2019. 23 percent said business was down 50 percent or more year over year for those two months.
  • 71 percent of local companies report no reduction in staffing since the start of the crisis (this is a slightly more positive figure than last week).
  • 50 percent of local companies said they did not anticipate any layoffs and another 35 percent said it was still too early to determine if layoffs would be needed.
    • 33 percent of companies with layoffs reported were in restaurant/food/beverage or retail businesses.
  • 73 percent of local businesses have experienced changes to hours and hourly work schedules since this crisis started, there was no change week-to-week on this percentage.
  • 55 percent of local businesses have moved employees to remote work (up 5 percent since last week)

Overview of challenges facing businesses

  • Access to short term working capital and delay of taxes and fees were the two biggest immediate needs identified for area businesses in the survey.
  • Revenue and cash flow were the top concern of businesses (76 percent), followed second by thewell-being of employees (58 percent) and payroll expenses (52 percent) was third.
  • While 40 percent of respondents said they had taken additional measures to date to address shortfalls in revenue, roughly 25 percent of companies said they had drawn down cash reserves and 25 percent said they had dipped into personal savings to address shortfalls in revenue due to the crisis.


  • 68 percent of total respondents in this week’s survey represent businesses that are considered “essential” under the current Safer at Home/Stay at Home orders.
  • 58 percent of the respondents in this week’s survey represented women and minority-owned businesses. Of those MWBE businesses, 64 percent of the respondents represented businesses considered “essential” under the current Safer at Home/Stay at Home orders.
  • The Greater Memphis region represents about 13 percent of the new unemployment figure for the state of Tennessee in the week ending March 28.
    • TN Unemployment: 94,000+; 12,500 (13%) in Greater Memphis (TN counties only)


Quote from Beverly Robertson, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber

“This is an unprecedented economic and health event in our lifetime. As we continue to reach out and to hear from business leaders across the city, we are encouraged that many of the businesses we are speaking with are weathering this storm and while things are certainly challenging in this climate, we are seeing some bright spots. We have some employers who are hiring. We have some businesses that are increasing production and we have some categories of industry that are going to thrive.

For those who are suffering as a result of COVID, we are working tirelessly to make sure they have the resources they need to help their business make it through this difficult period.

We will continue to work with our local and state government leaders as a cohesive unit to help minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.”


Other notes

  • Immediate Job Postings:

More than 40 companies in the metro area have listed immediate job openings via the Chamber’s Immediate Jobs Listing Page.

  • Since March 13, the Chamber has hosted 15+ free webinars to help Memphis area businesses minimize the impact of COVID-19. For a list of pre-recorded webinars, click here. 


About the COVID-19 Greater Memphis Business Impact Survey

The Chamber is working in partnership with the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force to estimate the impact and needs of the local business community in an effort to gather critical data to inform recovery programs and recommendations to reignite the local economy after the public health crisis ends. The first round of the survey was distributed to Chamber member businesses on March 19 (see results here). Phase two was opened to general businesses on March 23 (see results here). Phase three launched on March 27.

Results will be updated and aggregated weekly.

In addition to the survey, Chamber team members are making phone calls to local business owners to understand their immediate and near-term needs.

For more information, visit

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Apryl Childs-Potter

Chief Marketing Officer

Greater Memphis Chamber

901-238-5521 (cell)