Most Irish business owners dread another lockdown

Business owners worry that an increase in Covid-19 cases will lead to another lockdown in Ireland.

The spectre of another lockdown and the dangerous impact it could have on Irish businesses is a top concern for almost two-thirds of business owners.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (18 August 2020) published the results of the fifth wave of its Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS). Wave Five of the BICS release captures important information on business in Ireland as society and the economy continued to reopen.

“Among the top two concerns for businesses operating during the Covid-19 pandemic was an increase of Covid-19 cases leading to another lockdown (64.1pc) and reduced demand due to lower consumer confidence (46.8pc)”

The online survey was sent to a sample of 3,000 businesses and the information was collected between Tuesday 28 July and Wednesday 12 August 2020. The response rate to the survey was 24.9pc.

“The results show that on 26 July 2020, 96.1pc of responding enterprises were trading in some capacity, 3.0pc had temporarily ceased trading while 0.9pc had ceased trading permanently,” said CSO statistician Colin Hanley.

“More than half of responding enterprises (54.1pc) reported a reduction in turnover of 10pc or more compared to normal expectations during the four-week period Monday 29 June to Sunday 26 July. For the following four-week period Monday 27 July to Sunday 23 August, 39.9pc of enterprises forecasted turnover being within normal expectations.

“An additional question was introduced to the fifth wave of the survey related to business costs exceeding turnover from the beginning of the lockdown on 16 March to 26 July. Of the responding enterprises, 20.4pc reported that business costs had exceeded turnover during this period.”

The return to the office … a trickle not a flood

CSO infographic on effects of Covid-19 on businesses.

Source: CSO

Respondents indicated that an average of 59.2pc of staff worked remotely for office based enterprises, compared to an average of 13.7pc of staff which worked remotely for non-office based enterprises.

During the four-week period 29 June to 26 July 2020, an average of 18.2pc of staff returned from temporary leave to their normal place of work, while 8.5pc returned from remote working.

More than half of responding enterprises (54.3pc) have mandatory PPE in the workplace while 45.3pc have provided protective screening for staff.

“Among the top two concerns for businesses operating during the Covid-19 pandemic was an increase of Covid-19 cases leading to another lockdown (64.1pc) and reduced demand due to lower consumer confidence (46.8pc),” said Hanley.

The sixth wave of the CSO’s Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey will be distributed on 24 August 2020.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 18 August, 2020