In association with Chambers Ireland national survey, Tralee Chamber undertook a survey of businesses in Kerry and today (Tuesday) published the results.

The survey sought to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on businesses right across the county.

Nationally the survey has over 1,000 responses (1,110) and was conducted between the afternoon of March 19 and Monday morning (yesterday), with 10% of the national results from Kerry (105 businesses).

Today’s results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and Tralee Chamber, on behalf of businesses throughout the country and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.

The headline results for Kerry are:

• 92% of businesses see their revenue declining over the coming three months
• 72% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by in excess of 25%
• Cashflow, revenue, and staffing are the critical issues for businesses
• Cashflow and revenue are of greatest concern to sole traders, and micro-businesses (<10 employees) [This sector accounts for in excess of 92% of businesses, and 69% of jobs in the workforce) • Temporary closures impacting 50% of the businesses surveyed (hospitality and tourism in particular) • Staffing is of concern to certain sectors, particularly digital, agri-food, transport, and retail. • Every part of the county feels affected. “The survey results out today replicate what we have been dealing with over the past 10 days in Kerry as the tourism, hospitality, services and small retail sector have been severely hit, with over 92% of businesses that replied showing dramatic fall off in revenue, and a wave of temporary closures,” Tralee Chamber Chief Executive Ken Tobin said. “As we publish these results, we are expecting further announcements from Government of tighter restrictions on how people move around and interact with each other. This will further impact the business community, and undoubtably affect even more employees. Sentiment in the business community can only be expected to decline in the days and weeks to come. “A significant and radical response by the State to support businesses and local economies right across the island is required. This must be far-reaching and unlike any intervention we’ve seen before. These are unprecedented times and therefore need an unprecedented response.” Tralee Chamber and the wider Chamber’s Ireland network are engaging with Government to 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 creators, 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, he added. “This crisis will pass, our economy will recover, but we cannot afford a chaotic recovery. 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 call on Government to work with the insurance sector in providing solutions for the business community.” The pace at which Government departments and agencies are operating at to respond to the crisis is applauded but it is important to ensure that the detail of schemes announced are carefully considered and communicated. When this does not happen, it adds to the confusion and uncertainty facing our local economies. Finally, as is highlighted in the results of our Network survey, cash-flow will be critical to surviving the crisis, he explained. “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. As a Network, we stand ready to work with the State to meet the challenge of this crisis and support the business community through it." [audio m4a=""][/audio]