More than three-quarters of U.S. small businesses surveyed say they are now experiencing a negative impact from the coronavirus pandemic, a stark contrast from survey results released just 10 days earlier. 

According to survey results released Monday by the National Federation of Independent Business, 76% of small businesses polled said they are negatively affected. About 5% are positively affected; these firms are likely experiencing stronger sales due to a sharp rise in demand for certain products, goods and services. This will presumably change in the coming weeks as consumers feel more secure about their personal supply levels.

One in five small businesses (20%) said they are not currently affected by the outbreak, but 77% of them anticipate that changing if the outbreak spreads to or spreads more broadly in their immediate area over the next three months. This marks a sharp departure from the earlier survey where 43% of small businesses anticipated an impact if the virus spread. Just 4% do not believe they will be affected if the outbreak escalates, and 18% are not sure. 

Of those businesses negatively affected, 23% are experiencing supply chain disruptions, 54% slower sales and 9% sick employees. The 9% of owners citing sick employees likely responded out of heightened concern and precautions with sick employees showing some signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, but not necessarily because they have employees who have tested positive for the virus. 

“As we can see from this latest study, the economic downfall from COVID-19 is real and happening fast,” said Matt Everson, NFIB state director in Iowa. “Small businesses and their employees are worried and struggling. Now is the time for Congress to put partisanship aside and pass legislation that infuses much needed cash flow into the small business ecosystem to help pay for employee salaries, utilities, rent and mortgages.” 

The level of concern among small business owners about the coronavirus affecting their business has elevated significantly over the past two weeks. About 68% of small business owners are “very” concerned about its potential impact on their business, compared with 16% in the earlier survey. Another 23% are somewhat concerned and 9% are slightly concerned. Just 1% are not at all concerned. 

While many small businesses (47%) have not talked with their bank about financing needs, 30% are planning to do so soon. Another 13% have talked with their personal bank already, 9% with the SBA about their loan programs and 1% with an online lender. 

The survey was conducted with a random sample of NFIB’s membership database of about 300,000 small business owners by email on March 20. NFIB collected 700 usable responses, all small employers with between one and 360 employees.