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  • Island Economic Impact Study of COVID-19 Crisis Summary Results are Completed

    ReMain Nantucket 
    Virna Gonzalez

    Department of Culture and Tourism
    Janet Schulte

    Adam Blair

    Island Economic Impact Study of COVID-19 Crisis Summary Results are Completed

    NANTUCKET, Massachusetts-- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on Nantucket businesses and organizations has been significant: more than 90 percent have lost revenue ranging from $5,000 to over $2 million and over half have reduced worker hours or furloughed staff, according to the findings of a new online survey announced today by ReMain Nantucket.

    The survey, which was commissioned by the Nantucket Economic Survey Team and conducted by Boston-based EBP US the first two weeks in April, included nearly 450 responses representing 42 percent of all establishments on Nantucket.

    “The findings tell a dramatic story about the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on Nantucket business,” said Janet Schulte, director of culture and tourism for the Town of Nantucket. “We learned that 89 percent of respondents will lose at least 25 percent of their revenue through the end of June while the other 35 percent of respondents may lose up to 75 percent of their revenue. We’re seeing over half of the respondents either furloughing staff or reducing their hours.”

    Recipients of the survey identified needs ranging from short-term to long-term support, including: grants and loans, rent deferrals, delayed tax payments, permission to re-open, communication regarding available resources, marketing tools, and business loss insurance.

    “The information in the survey also helps to answer questions about where help is needed most,” said Schulte. “The collected data and open-ended responses from the recipients will inform our decisions and recommendations going forward as we try to support Nantucket’s economy.”

    To answer support needs, the new Nantucket Economic Recovery Group—with representatives from the Nantucket Island Chamber Commerce and the Town of Nantucket’s Economic Impact Task Force—will use this information to design a response strategy and plans for recovery.

    “Rebuilding, resourcing, and recovery efforts and ideas are already emerging and range from immediate responses to plans that require a long term strategy,” said Schulte.

    Keep the Rock Solid, an online hub of business resources for grant and relief opportunities that was established by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce in mid-April, is an example of how the community is trying to immediately support small businesses. The site includes specific ways that businesses can apply for support, while also offering individuals opportunities to support the Island economy. A radio show associated with Keep the Rock Solid has also been launched on WACK and shares stories of how local business owners are adapting their business models as a way to recover.

    “Underwriting EBP’s survey and helping to launch Keep the Rock Solid are just two examples of how ReMain is helping,” said Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director of ReMain Nantucket. “Being nimble in this new environment is essential if we want to build a strong and more resilient economy. We’ll continue to work with our NEST and EBP partners to research opportunities as we try to define a path forward.”

    The Nantucket Economic Survey Team (NEST) is a collective group of Nantucket community leaders from across the town’s government, business, and nonprofit sectors. This research effort is sponsored by the Town of Nantucket Department of Culture and Tourism, ReMain Nantucket, the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, Nantucket Select Board member Jason Bridges, the Community Foundation for Nantucket, and newly appointed State Reopening Advisory Boardmember, Wendy Hudson.

    ReMain Nantucket is a charitable organization, founded by philanthropist Wendy Schmidt to support the economic, social and environmental vitality of the island of Nantucket. In addition to providing grants and sponsorships to support sustainable and cultural initiatives across the island, the organization has worked to revitalize the downtown district year-round through the preservation of historic buildings that are home to a mix of nonprofit and commercial businesses.

    The Town of Nantucket’s Department of Culture and Tourism’s mission is to support the continued development of Nantucket as a healthy community in which tourism is a significant contributor to residents' economic stability and economic security and Nantucket's natural, cultural, and historic resources and quality of life are enjoyed by tourists and residents while being protected for future generations.

    EBP US (formerly EDR Group) is an American company based in Boston that provides state-of-the-art economic analysis and research to support planning and policy in multimodal transportation, regional development, energy, and infrastructure. It is part of the EBP family of companies, with full-service offices in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, China, Brazil, and Chile.

    For more information about the survey findings, please visit remainnantucket.org or call Virna Gonzalez at 508-901-4143.

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