Roger Sosa, executive director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, says 45 percent of businesses that responded to a chamber survey said they’ve shut down “until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 130 business owners that responded to the survey, he says. most of the rest said they’ve either scaled back hours or — in the case of restaurants — switched to a delivery-and-carryout-only business model.

Sosa says the businesses responding to the survey had about 1,200 employees, and they’ve laid off roughly 40 percent of those workers.

He’s encouraging business owners to apply for assistance programs through the Small Business Administration and says it may take the rest of the year to return business activity to anything resembling the normal we were familiar with before the coronavirus reached Evanston.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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