Chambers Ireland and the nationwide network of chambers has today published the results of a survey of businesses, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

The survey which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3 April and the morning of 6 April 2020.

The results published this morning are the second in a series of nationwide surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the business community.

All corners of the country are represented in the responses and the results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers, on behalf of businesses throughout the country.

Revenue

  • 84% of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, which is up from 73% in the last survey published by Chambers Ireland on the 24 March.
  • Approximately 25% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 90% over the next 3 months
  • Smaller firms are more concerned about loss of revenue and are more likely to expect a 100% reduction in revenue

Closures

  • 42% of businesses have closed entirely, and 30% of businesses having closed the public facing offices and are now working from home
  • Of those that have closed, most expect to be closed for 12 weeks

Staffing

  • 47% of businesses have laid off staff, with over half of those laying off in excess of 30% of staff
  • 20% of all businesses have laid off their entire staff

Commercial Rates

  • 76% of businesses owners/operators believe that the 2-month deferral of Commercial Rates payments will not be enough to have any meaningful impact on their business
  • Most believe that it would need to be a six-month holiday to be of use, with a significant minority believing that the extension would need to be for 12 months

Next Steps/Economic Interventions

  • 99% of respondents believe that there will be a need for a post – COVID-19 economic stimulus package
  • 95% of respondents believe that there is a need for liquidity grants to businesses
  • 96% of respondents believe that the measures that have already been introduced will need to have their timelines extended

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot says that there is almost unanimous agreement among members “that a post-COVID-19 stimulus package will be required and that part of these measures must include the provision of grants for business to help them re-open their doors and restore jobs lost”.

“The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 must be met with an unprecedented response”.

Pivot to Survive

Meanwhile, some companies are managing to pivot their operations to address the crisis, with many transitioning to online business – and a livestock mart conducting online auctions.

At Blacknight we have seen a rise in enquiries from business people who realise that they can survive this if they move certain aspects of their operations online. We’ve moved our own operation to a 100% work-from-home model and we are helping others to do the same.

Read the survey results in full here.