Small business owners in the US are having a tough time due to the spike in COVID-19 cases and associated issues, and would welcome additional federal assistance, a new survey has revealed.

The Goldman Sachs survey covered 1,400 small business owners. Among them, a vast majority, 82%, supported the extension of ongoing federal assistance to small business owners. Further, 86% supported Congress reauthorizing the COVID-Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programme to assist small businesses.

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the US has been driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus. The surge has impacted small business owners severely and 37% of those survey said they were forced to scale back operations or temporarily close down due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

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The survey further revealed that 71% of small business owners had suffered drops in expected revenue while 79% were worried about the omicron variant and its impact.

Indeed, since the turn of the year, more than 9 million Americans have called out sick from work according to the Census Bureau, causing supply chain disruptions and a nationwide labour shortage.

The US has recorded around 15 million new COVID-19 infections since the turn of the year, and the numbers are still going up.

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The survey also revealed that small business owners were not pleased with the Biden administration’s actions on issues such as inflation, the labour crisis, and supply chain disruptions, with around two-thirds voicing their displeasure. Additionally, 76% of small business owners said that inflation, which hit a four-decade high in December, negatively impacted their business over the past six months.

With regard to the overall state of the economy, 45% of small business owners said that the US economy was moving in the wrong direction.