Optimism among small businesses has dropped sharply amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Federation of Independent Businesses found in a survey released on Tuesday.

The survey — an index of optimism of small business owners — dropped 8.1 points last March, the largest monthly decline in its history.

Many small businesses has shuttered their physical locations amid efforts to halt the spread of the virus and millions of people have filed for unemployment benefits.

Congress and President Donald Trump have approved a series of relief measures that are intended to boost small businesses loan options and funding during the pandemic.

"NFIB's Small Business Economic Trends Survey has been a trusted metric of the health and wealth of America's small businesses since 1973. Small businesses are experiencing unprecedented concerns as they face the uncertain future created by COVID-19," said Greg Biryla, NFIB's New York state director.

"It's crucial that struggling small businesses have access to federal funding from the CARES Act and that state governments do everything at their disposal to give small businesses the flexibility and support they need to survive and eventually thrive.”

The survey found that among small business owners key metric like uncertainty has risen, while job openings and expected sales have declined.