The government’s recent measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus have impacted around 20 percent of businesses in the country, a lightning survey conducted by the Czech Chamber of Commerce (HK ČR) has found. Most expect sales revenues to drop by 40 to 60 percent. Those hardest hit are the self-employed and small businesses.
The most serious complications stem from a drop in sales as demand has decreased. All restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops have been closed as part of the quarantine, although some still operate on a “take-away” basis.
Meanwhile, bans on travel and group meetings, and border closures, have hit a variety of businesses including airlines, event organisers and the hotel sector.
Many companies will be forced to delay payments to suppliers, which will in turn have a negative effect on businesses involved in the supply chain, Czech Chamber of Commerce chairman Vladimir Dlouhý says. As a result, all Czech citizens will feel the consequences, he said.
Only 49 percent of businesses questioned by the survey said that they will try to continue paying all suppliers on time. Nearly a fifth said that it was impossible to make any of their payment deadlines.
The second-largest issue identified by the HK ČR survey are concerns among employees, especially those active in retail and the food-processing industry.
More than half of respondents said that employees are nervous about the lack of respirators and facemasks at work.
Furthermore, 24 percent of respondents said there are major complications from the lack of these items and that of other sanitary equipment.
The closure of schools and the subsequent need of some employees to take nursing leave, or work from home, was identified as a problem by 22 percent of respondents.
The HK ČR survey also asked businesses which government measures would most help them to alleviate the situation. Among these, the postponement of certain payments and obligations, such as income tax, VAT, and those for social and health insurance scored the highest, at 56 percent.
More than half of all respondents also said they would welcome state compensation for salaries paid to employees in quarantine and for related work restrictions.
Aside from financial assistance, businesses also said they would welcome an easier way to orientate themselves in the current situation. From the 30 percent that said that they did contact relevant ministries for advice, just over a half said they were satisfied with the reply they received.
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