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Businesses ‘concerned’ surge in Covid-19 cases will lead to another lockdown

The survey comes as the economy continues to reopen.

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Two women wearing face masks make their way to the shops on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Two women wearing face masks make their way to the shops on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Two women wearing face masks make their way to the shops on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Businesses are most concerned about an increase in Covid-19 cases leading to another lockdown, a survey has found.

Almost 65% of firms that are open in some capacity have raised concerns of facing another round of restrictions if the surge in confirmed cases continues to rise.

A Business Impact of Covid-19 Survey (BICS) published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also shows that 47% of businesses are also concerned about a reduced demand because of lower consumer confidence.

The fifth BICS release captures important information on business in Ireland as society and the economy continues to reopen.

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

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Statistician Colin Hanley said: “The results show that 96.1% of responding enterprises were trading in some capacity, 3% had temporarily ceased trading while 0.9% had ceased trading permanently.

“More than half of responding enterprises (54.1%) reported a reduction in turnover of 10% or more compared to normal expectations during the four-week period Monday June 29 to Sunday July 26.

“For the following four-week period Monday July 27 to Sunday August 23, 39.9% of enterprises forecasted turnover being within normal expectations.”

Around 20.4% of businesses reported that business costs had exceeded turnover from March until the end of July.

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

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

More than half of businesses have mandatory PPE in the workplace while 45.3% have provided protective screening for staff.

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A woman wearing a face mask walks past a tourism office on O’Connell Street in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a tourism office on O’Connell Street in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

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A woman wearing a face mask walks past a tourism office on O’Connell Street in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

It comes as the Cabinet meets on Tuesday to discuss recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team on preventing the surge of Covid-19 cases.

Health experts met on Monday to discuss the rise in cases and whether to recommend further measures to help curb the spread.

On Monday no new deaths were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team said.

There has now been a total of 1,774 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

The system was notified of a further 56 confirmed cases, bringing the overall total to 27,313.

PA