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The Big Survey 2020: The Coronavirus Epidemic

COVID-19 hit North America shortly after the turn of the new year, and it’s been upending life and business ever since. Here we ask ECPs how they’ve coped with the viral outbreak in their professional and personal lives, what they’ve learned and what they expect will change as a result of the pandemic.

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23. For you and your business, what has changed forever as a result of COVID-19?

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big survey 2020-changes after COVID

24. If you furloughed employees when the pandemic started, have you…

Brought back all your employees
72%
Brought back some employees in line with the recovery in business
13%
Found you can do the same amount of business with fewer employees
15%

 

Note: One-third of respondents said they had not furloughed employees.
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25. Are you finding frame customers spending more on product this year because they’ve had to cut back on other discretionary spending?

Yes, they are spending a lot more (20% or more than before)
15%
Yes
39%
No, our average frame sale hasn’t changed
39%
No, they are spending less
6%
No, they are spending a lot less (20% or more less than before)
1%

The following comments from our respondents help put a closer focus on how certain types of spending have increased during COVID.

  • Actually, more welfare cases – free glasses.
  • I closed my store and am selling my remaining inventory at half price.
  • We have had some HSA people spending more because of job loss.
  • Initially we found patients willing to splurge, not so much now.
  • People don’t want to go other places to shop for glasses. They want to get it all done in one shot if they can.
  • After an initial big jump things are leveling off, people are figuring out we’re in this for the long haul and it’s only gonna get worse.
  • Retention has increased because we are by appointment only, and those patients mostly come into the dispensary to purchase since you can’t really browse right now then go buy it online afterwards.
  • I feel multiple pairs have increased along with sunglasses as a second pair.
  • Much more HSA spending than I remember in past years.
  • So many patients are using Visa and debit cards that it is slowing the credit card processing.
  • A lot of our patients are excited to get back to the office and get new frames. The pandemic brought more awareness around blue light and our patients are seeing the need to get a pair of blue light glasses or plano BluTechs to wear over their contacts since work and school have shifted to online.
  • People aren’t traveling as much so they have more dollars. Also time on the computer has helped us because of the tired eyes from the blue light.

26. Did you get any of the following forms of government assistance to help you deal with the pandemic?

mask on dollars

ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN (EIDL)
Yes
35%
No
59%
Applied but didn’t get it
6%
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)
Yes
86%
No
11%
Applied but didn’t get it
3%
SBA 30-YEAR LOANS AT 1% INTEREST
Yes
5.31%
No
84%
Applied but didn’t get it
1%
LOCAL BUSINESS GRANT
Yes
18%
No
72%
Applied but didn’t get it
10%

Our respondents’ comments on this section included the following two noteworthy alternative sources of funding.

  • Had to do Go Fund Me $500 matching grant.
  • VSP Grant for Platinum Premiere Doctor.
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27. What’s been the worst non-business thing about the COVID-19 pandemic?

A personal loss (of a friend, employee or relative)
10%
Damage to your own health
2%
The restrictions on your movement and personal life/freedoms
36%
The feeling of national division
29%
The media hysteria
24%
Other (please specify)
4%

Respondents choosing “Other” felt our response options didn’t adequately cover their feelings, with loneliness being a particular theme among this group. Below is a selection of their comments:

  • Loss of life in my office building, loss of my personal freedoms, closing of my storefront in my 50th year…
  • Aloneness, especially going through very recent loss of my first granddaughter in very late stage pregnancy
  • Having emergency surgery alone, no family could be there
  • Inability to socialize with friends and family
  • The politicization of science

28. What’s been the worst thing about COVID for you as a business owner?

The loss of earnings
21%
Lost opportunities
13%
The loss of a year to grow and develop the business
26%
Having to change the way business is done
26%
Loss of confidence in the future
8%
Other (please specify)
6%

Here are some of COVID’s “other” main negatives:

  • Managing staff stress
  • Not being able to find people to hire!
  • Furloughing team members

29. Have you found yourself using alcohol or other substances to relieve stress more than before pandemic times?

Yes, a lot more
4%
Yes, a little bit more
20%
No
60%
I don’t drink or take other such substances
16%

Who knew ECPs were so fond of cannabis? See a selection of respondents’ comments on COVID-induced dabbling below…

  • “CBD is my go-to remedy.”
  • “Mary Jane has become a regular companion.”
  • “I don’t drink before noon, but it’s noon somewhere…”
  • “If you have a glass of wine in each hand you can’t touch your face.”

30. Do you plan to get a coronavirus vaccine when one is available?

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31. Finish this sentence: “One thing COVID-19 has taught me is …”

ABOUT LIFE:
  • Life is unpredictable and very precious.
  • We are not in control.
  • I’m a pretty good cook.
  • How important family and friends are.
ABOUT BUSINESS:
  • I can really set my own schedule and people comply.
  • You should be financially prepared for anything — no matter how unlikely.

32. Have there been any silver linings to COVID-19 for you? Can you name a positive in your business or personal life as a result of the pandemic?

BUSINESS LIFE:
  • Working by appointment.
  • My stress levels are much lower thanks to the break during shut-down, our business’s easy bounce-back, and all the extra time I had to tackle systems and processes.
  • I realized I like working less…so I am.
PERSONAL LIFE:
  • Large family chat group bound us together.
  • My cat loves all the one-on-one attention.
  • I revisited art and music and discovered I could be a pretty darned good ukulele player.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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