A quarter of New Jersey businesses in a survey conducted by Focus NJ and Brother International Corporation say they will never make up the revenue that was lost in pandemic-impacted 2020.

Another 16% say recouping losses will take more than two years. And 26% say it could take up to a year.

The survey, Back to Work in a Post-Pandemic World, finds most New Jersey businesses experienced a loss in productivity during the pandemic. The suffering continues into 2021, as more than half say revenue is down this year compared to the same period in 2020.

"The unprecedented non-essential business closures and stay-at-home orders from mid-March to mid-June of 2020, followed by continued operational restrictions, were really a one-two punch that the state's businesses are still trying to recover from," said Nicole Sandelier, executive director of Focus NJ, a nonprofit research foundation launched by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

On average, businesses have spent or are spending $34,000 on new technologies to keep their businesses up and running in an all-remote or semi-remote format, the survey finds.

"Businesses also spent an additional $7,000 on average investing in personal protective equipment and to make the workplace safe," Sandelier said.

In the survey that gathered more than 700 responses through April 26, 45% of respondents reported that some of their workforce is still operating remotely. More than half reported that their entire staff is working in-person.

Two-thirds of businesses said they're actively encouraging employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. A quarter said they'd be willing to mandate the vaccine among workers.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that masks and social-distancing rules can be scrapped by establishments on May 28.

More than 60% of survey respondents said they plan to bring their workforce back to the physical workplace in either spring or summer 2021. Sixty-five percent said they will allow some of their workforce to work remotely, or are considering it.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

NJ's most and least COVID vaccinated towns, by county

New Jersey reported just short of 4 million people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 statewide, heading into the last week of May. So how does that break down across all 21 counties?

And, how can some communities show a vaccination rate of more than 100%, according to state data? Reasons include people who have moved, those who are traveling and not residing at home where the census counted them, students who may select their school residence for vaccination data and people in long-term care (or other facility-based housing) among other reasons, as explained in a footnote on the state COVID dashboard.

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