Building on an effort launched in early summer 2020, the Cape Cod Commission and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce issued a second online survey to Cape Cod business owners to understand the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Over 400 businesses responded across a variety of industries and from all 15 towns on Cape Cod. 
Results from this survey can be explored using these dashboards.
To see results by town, please use the “select town” dropdown menu in each dashboard.

Overview of Respondents

The second economic impact survey was released in August 2020 and closed shortly after Labor Day Weekend. There were 405 total respondents representing every town on Cape Cod. The top three industries that responded were consistent with the top three by employment in the region.

Financial Impacts

Many businesses and organizations reported Q1 and Q2 losses of 50% or more compared to 2019. The length of time business owners believed they could stay operational on current cash flow and reserves was longer compared to the first survey (issued in May). Several businesses noted falling behind on rent and other bills, while many faced increased costs due to increased sanitation or shifting operations online.

Operational Impacts

By the time the second survey was issued in August, most Cape Cod businesses had reopened. However, many businesses had to suspend the face-to-face interaction they had with customers prior to the pandemic, disproportionately affecting the region’s substantial tourism and hospitality industries.  The number of customers and sales declined for many, and businesses faced increased operational costs related to sanitation and social distancing. Many businesses took advantage of the Payroll Protection Program in an effort to maintain their workforce, while others relied on savings and loans to survive a diminished summer.

Outlook Compared to Severity of Impacts

Based on the Small Business Pulse survey conducted nationally by the US Census, the data below compares business owners’ outlooks – when will your business/organization return to normal? – compared to severity of economic impacts. Most industries are clustered in the bottom right, indicating highly negative economic impacts and the expectation that a return to normalcy is more than six months away, if ever.


Cape Cod faced unprecedented levels of unemployment due to COVID-19. Businesses and organizations closed down, reduced hours, and shifted operations online where possible, but some employees remained furloughed or laid off through August. Many more remained working on reduced schedules. Some businesses struggled with employees being unable or unwilling to return, citing concerns about health and safety, limited wages, and childcare.

Looking Ahead

The most requested resource among respondents was support for communications, marketing, and social media, as businesses need to reach their customers online more effectively.  For the respondents who had applied for PPP to support their business/organization, the vast majority were approved for the full amount, and expected to be fully refunded.