Businesses rearrange workplaces to allow social distancing

The latest CSO report shows some positives for businesses, including many which are starting to reopen, but also highlights the challenges faced. Picture: Pexels Almost three-quarters of Irish businesses have rearranged their workplace to facilitate social distancing.
Businesses rearrange workplaces to allow social distancing
The latest CSO report shows some positives for businesses, including many which are starting to reopen, but also highlights the challenges faced. Picture: Pexels
The latest CSO report shows some positives for businesses, including many which are starting to reopen, but also highlights the challenges faced. Picture: Pexels

Almost three-quarters of Irish businesses have rearranged their workplace to facilitate social distancing.

Many are also introducing occupancy limits and mandatory PPE, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in its latest report on the business impact of Covid-19.

It shows some positives for businesses, including many which are starting to reopen, but also highlights the challenges faced.

Almost 90% (89.4)of businesses that responded to the survey were trading by the end of May. This is up from 76% before the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on May 18.

However, the CSO cautioned that 'trading' is a broad term and many of these businesses are still operating under some form of restrictions.

Some 1% of respondents had ceased trading permanently by the end of May and 9.6% had temporarily ceased trading. This varied in different sectors.

In accommodation and food, some 62.2% had stopped trading either temporarily or permanently. This is in contrast to just 7.4% of wholesale and retail, and just 2.2% of industry.

Many businesses reported a significant decrease in turnover, CSO statistician Colin Hanley said: "More than seven-in-ten responding enterprises (71.5%) had a reduction in turnover of 10% or more during the four-week period from Mon, May 4 to Sun, May 31, compared to normal expectations."

Almost one-fifth of respondents said turnover was close to normal for the month of May, while 9.3% said they actually saw a higher than normal turnover for the period.

All respondents in the accommodation and food sectors, and 92.8% of construction respondents said turnover had declined, and just one-in-four enterprises estimated that turnover would return to normal in June.

Additionally, the survey found businesses are making changes to the workplace to facilitate new regulations.

Mr Hanley said: "Almost three-quarters (74.2%) of enterprises who responded to the survey indicated that they had rearranged the workplace to facilitate social distancing measures in response to Covid-19 while 37.8% had introduced occupancy limits in the workplace.

"More than two-fifths (41.3%) of enterprises required mandatory PPE in the workplace."

Larger enterprises — those with more than 250 employees — are most likely to be working at home, with small businesses (10-49 employees) the least likely to be working at home and most likely to be working at their normal place of work.

Some 30% of companies which placed staff on temporary leave due to Covid-19 had staff return to work in May.

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