Ybor City CRA - COVID-19 Small Business and Worker Study

Client: Ybor City CRA
Industry: Economic Development/Government


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a serious threat to communities across the globe. Lockdowns introduced as a way to control the virus’s spread created considerable uncertainty within the business community. The pandemic induced economic damage to Ybor City. Ybor City Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) wanted to learn the effects of COVID-19 on Ybor City businesses and employees.


HCP Associates worked with the Ybor City Community Redevelopment Area to engage business owners and employees in a survey of their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary objective was to understand the impact on these community businesses and assess how best to help.

Ybor City Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) is a division of Tampa’s Development and Economic Opportunity Department. It facilitates the development, redevelopment, economic revitalization, and general improvement of Ybor City’s Historic District.

110 individuals participated in the study, including 72 business owners and 38 small business employees. More than half of the 72 business owners surveyed claimed that they had to lay off workers, furlough them, or some combination of the two, and 66% were worried about whether their business could survive the shutdown. The majority (57%) of small business workers are considered essential employees, and 40% of the surveyed employees have seen a salary reduction of at least 50% since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Ybor’s vibrant landscape of businesses, many independently owned, draw strength from their close connection to one another. Many businesses within Ybor fall within a few industry categories most commonly associated with tourism and recreation. To better protect the district from economic shocks, including those seen during the pandemic, it may be prudent to diversify.