ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A majority of small businesses are not requiring their employees to get tested for the new coronavirus or get any COVID-19 vaccines, though the health care and hospitality industries are ahead of the curve on this requirement, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau's most recent Small Business Pulse Survey showed 70% of the small businesses surveyed said “no" when asked if they had required employees to test negative for COVID-19 before coming to work in the last week. Another 10% said “yes" and almost 20% said the question was not applicable.
Of the small businesses, two sectors, health care and accommodations/ food service had higher rates than the national average — respectively 15.5% and 14.3%.
When asked if employees were asked to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination in the past week, 2.2% of the small businesses answered “yes" and 78.4% answered “no," with 19.4% saying it wasn't applicable, according to the survey.
However, 62% of small businesses in the health care industry said they were requiring a vaccine, the survey said.
The latest Small Business Pulse Survey is among a series of surveys the Census Bureau has conducted since last spring to measure the effect of the pandemic. It was conducted February 15-21 when the survey was sent to approximately 100,000 businesses. About 25,000 businesses responded.
The small businesses have less than 500 employees and are in a single location.
The latest survey asked the small businesses what changes they had made to their capital expenditures last year. Almost a quarter of respondents said they had postponed planned spending, 15.6% had decreased expenditures and 12.8% had canceled some spending, the survey said.
When asked about what effect the pandemic has had on their businesses overall, responses by the small businesses were relatively unchanged over the past three months. Around 44% say it has had a moderately negative effect, almost 30% says it has had a large negative effect, 19% say it has had little to no effect, 5.6% say it has had a moderately positive effect and 1.7% say it has had a large positive effect.