‘We need a plan’ – warning as shock survey reveals impact Covid-19 is having on Waterford businesses
Some 85% of businesses in Waterford have shut or partially closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.
The findings emerged in a new survey of more than 1,300 local companies and firms across the country carried out by Waterford Chamber and other Chamber organisations.
The survey also reveals:
*Just 15% of businesses remain open;
*27% have scaled back activity;
*24& have ‘front of house’ closed, with staff working from home;
*34% have closed completely.
The findings of the survey provide a stark insight into the extent of the impact the pandemic is having on Waterford’s economic life.
Most businesses say they will need at least two weeks’ notice to reopen. A quarter (25%) say it take “at least a month”.
For those businesses that are closed, typical weekly overheads are approximately €2,000, although 25% of firms say their overheads are greater than €5,000 per week.
Of the businesses who have been hardest hit (those that have lost more than half of their revenue for the next three months), 60% project that their 2020 annual earnings will be less than half of what they were expecting at the start of the year.
More than two third (68%) of businesses say they have invoices “outstanding”, with €40,000 being the average amount owed.
Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “The purpose of this latest survey was to help us understand not only how deep the economic impact has been on the business community, but what supports they will need to re-open as the restrictions are phased out.
“This data verifies what Chambers Ireland have been telling Government over the past few weeks – we need a clear plan for reopening the economy. This includes advance notice of the dates that various sectors will reopen, a clear strategy on what sectors will reopen first, information on what protocol will need to be in place and whether support will be available to financially assist businesses to reopen.
“The business community needs direct support from Government if it is to reopen. The objective of many of the supports to date, such as the Wage Subsidy Scheme, has been to ensure that employees are retained on payroll for when the economy reopens.
“What the business community needs to see now is a similar approach to ensuring that overheads, other than wages, receive some form of subsidy or grant. Without this aid, the chance of businesses successfully reopening and maintaining employment is significantly reduced,” Mr Hurley added.