Ninety-four percent of businesses expect to see their revenue declining over the next three months, according to a new survey.
The Galway Chamber survey found that 73% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 25%.
It found that staffing is of particular concern to certain sectors: Digital, Agrifood, Transport, and Retail.
It also revealed that cashflow and revenue are of greatest concern to Sole Traders, and micro-businesses (those with less than employees).
These micro-businesses account for over 92% of businesses, and 69% of jobs in the workforce.
The survey was conducted between the afternoon of the 19 March and the morning of 23 March and had over 1,100 responses, including 200 from Galway.
These results will inform the advocacy of Galway Chamber and the broader Chamber network, on behalf of businesses throughout the country.
They will also provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.
Speaking this week, Galway Chamber Chief Executive Kenny Deery said: “The results of our member survey show us that the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Galway, the vast majority of whom are SMEs, has been severely felt, with more than 90% experiencing reduced cash-flow and reduced revenue.
“As we publish these results, the Government has announced tighter restrictions on how we move around and interact with each other.
“This will further impact the business community. Sentiment in the business community can only be expected to decline in the days and weeks to come.
“The announcement of government today has gone some distance to support the retention of staff and help support that wage cost of business however a distance has to be travelled yet to give comfort to businesses whose cashflow has dried up.
“Government must give businesses and the self-employed a lifeline immediately, and when the coronavirus threat passes ensure that the businesses community is supported through further state interventions.
“Employers’ are job creator, without whom we would not have an economy and would not be able to support the economic well-being of citizens. For jobs to be restored following the crisis, our members will need as much support as possible to re-boot the economy.
“Under-reacting to this crisis is now the greatest risk. This crisis will pass, our
economy will recover, but we cannot afford a chaotic recovery.
“Government measures to date have the approval of almost 70% of the business community despite the huge costs borne by them.
“But Government must become more responsive in a number of key areas.
“Deferrals and moratoriums on VAT, commercial rates and other changes must last for the duration of the crisis at a minimum.
“The business sector also requires greater clarity on insurance. We have called on Government to work with the insurance sector in providing solutions for the business community.
“Our members have called out that cash-flow will be critical to surviving the crisis. We reiterate our call to all Government Departments, agencies, Local Authorities, State and Semi-State bodies to pay invoices at the earliest opportunity.
“Government must take the lead on this and make a clear statement on the urgent necessity that all State bodies settle all outstanding bills promptly.”
Dave Hickey, President of Galway Chamber said: “The survey shows that businesses are looking for a speedy response from government, banks, landlords, insurers and others to help create some predictability in these uncertain times.
“The measures announced by government today will go some way to addressing