Second Covid-19 wave 'the biggest risk’ to firms

Second Covid-19 wave 'the biggest risk’ to firms
11th April 2020...... A near deserted St Patricks street, Cork on Easter Saturday during the Covid-19 pandemicPicture: Eddie O'Hare

A second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is the single biggest threat to Irish business, according to a large number of companies in a survey.

Just over a third of respondents to an Institute of Directors (IoD) survey of business leaders said a fresh Covid outbreak is the biggest risk facing their company. However, other concerns exist, with a quarter of companies seeing the reluctance of some staff to return to work – due to Covid fears – as the biggest barrier to recovery and growth.

More than 20% of respondents said they are concerned by public transport quality and a lack of alternative travel options for workers. 

Overall, 60% said the main change will be different working practices – such as working from home.

IoD chief executive Maura Quinn said the threat of a second wave is “very real” and the business challenges being posed by Covid are “complex”.

“The role of the Government and the impact of existing and future stimulus packages will also be key to overcoming the enormous challenges that lie ahead, of that there can be little doubt,” she said.

A separate survey, conducted by AIB, shows that Irish private sector firms have become considerably less optimistic, with most predicting a timescale of up to 12 months for their business to recover from the Covid impact.

Respondents said profits are under threat, despite falling labour costs. The survey said that the 12-month outlook for private sector employment is now at its weakest level for nearly 10 years.

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