Main Street Forward


Understanding the Impact of COVID-19

Main Street America conducted an online survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 on the approximately 300,000 small businesses across the network. Specifically, this survey was designed to help us understand small businesses’ ability to withstand what may be several months of suppressed revenue and what kinds of support programs will have the most impact. With thanks to our Main Street Network for encouraging participation in the survey, more than 5,850 small business owners responded. 

The findings in our report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses: Findings from Main Street America’s Small Business Survey, highlight the profound impact on the smallest, locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of many downtown districts.

Just released! We recently conducted a follow-up survey to better understand the continued challenges small businesses face as the crisis evolves. See key findings here.

Key Findings

  • Millions of small businesses will be at great risk of closing permanently if the crisis continues for several months. Of the nation’s approximately 30 million small businesses, nearly 7.5 million small businesses may be at risk of closing permanently over the coming five months, and 3.5 million are at risk of closure in the next two months.
  • COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small businesses’ revenue, and millions of Americans employed by our nation’s smallest businesses are at risk of unemployment as a result. Approximately 35.7 million Americans employed by small businesses are at risk of unemployment as result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Our survey finds that business owners primarily need financial assistance and penalty-free extensions on expenses.


Explore the Data

To better understand what is happening on the state and local level, explore a pair of interactive maps where you can access a summary of results for all states and communities where we received five or more completed surveys. To explore the data, simply click on any community that has a colored dot or any state shaded in blue. The results can be easily copied and pasted into a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet. Please note that the maps may take a few moments to load.

Statewide Results

Local Results

Main Street’s businesses are facing a crisis like no other, and they need the support offered by local Main Street programs now more than ever. That’s why Main Street America is advocating to Congress for $100M to be included in an upcoming stimulus to sustain and expand the essential work of Main Street leaders in every corner of the country. Click here to stay connected on ways you can support advocacy at the federal and coordinating program level and find additional tools and resources to support your efforts.