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Aussies businesses felt impact of COVID-19 even before social distancing

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
27 March 2020 1 minute readShare
coronavirus impact

A new survey has revealed that nearly half of Aussie businesses had experienced an adverse impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic before social distancing rules were even enacted by the government as a measure to slow the spread.

Almost half (49 per cent) of Australian businesses surveyed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said they had experienced an adverse impact as a result of COVID-19 in mid-March.

In an effort to map the economic impact of the coronavirus, the ABS has launched the Business Impacts of COVID-19 survey as part of a series of additional product releases over the coming months.

Its inaugural survey showed that in mid-March, almost 90 per cent of businesses expected to be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in future months.

The collection period pre-dated the government’s announcement of social distancing measures.

The ABS said adverse impacts were most prevalent in accommodation and food services, with over three-quarters of businesses (78 per cent) already reporting impacts and 96 per cent of businesses forecasting impacts as the crisis evolves.

Businesses in professional, scientific and technical services (21 per cent); electricity, gas and water supply (34 per cent); and businesses in mining (37 per cent) were the least likely to have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 in the collection period, the ABS said.

Among those reporting adverse impacts, a reduction in local demand was the most common impact experienced (82 per cent) and was also the most common impact expected in coming months (81 per cent).

Over a third of businesses reported they had experienced staff shortages (36 per cent) and 59 per cent expected to experience staff shortages in coming months.

A sample of 3,000 businesses was selected for the survey, with a response rate of 41 per cent.

Buy local

“Australian businesses need your support” was the message coming from the Australian Made Campaign (AMCL) on Thursday.

Witnessing the local demand shortages underpinned by the ABS survey, the AMCL is urging consumers to throw their support behind local businesses as the current COVID-19 situation continues to develop.

Calling on all consumers to exercise their preference for Australian products and buy local, the chief executive of AMCL said that now is a better time than ever to rally behind local growers and manufacturers.

“It is a difficult time for all, with many businesses restricted in some way and Australians facing the challenges of self-isolation and social distancing,” Ben Lazzaro said.

Aussies businesses felt impact of COVID-19 even before social distancing
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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