Chambers Ireland and its nationwide network of chambers has today published the results of a survey of its members, 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. Eighty four percent of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, which is up from 73% in its last survey published on the 24 March.
Approximately 25% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 90% over the next 3 months and smaller firms are more concerned about loss of revenue and are more likely to expect a 100% reduction in revenue
The survey shows that 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.
Furthermore, 47% of businesses have laid off staff, with over half of those laying off in excess of 30% of staff. It is estimated that 20% of all businesses have laid off their entire staff.
Worringly, 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.
Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, Ian Talbot said, "Measures already introduced, while critical in the first response to support business, will need to evolve in scale and scope. For example, the Government’s earlier announcement of a two-month deferral for commercial rates is found to be insufficient by three quarters of businesses responding to our survey."
He added, "If a deferral is to have any meaningful impact, it will need to last at least 6 months, if not a full year, as was introduced in the UK. To ensure that Local Authorities can continue to serve communities, this short-fall in funding must be replaced by central Government."