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How is Coronavirus affecting businesses?

coronavirus

Coronavirus, the respiratory illness that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has started to slow down in its origin country, but doesn’t look to slow down in the rest of its growth worldwide.  As of 9am on the 10 March 2020, there are 373 cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 6 casualties. 

With countries closing themselves off and society preparing to grind to a halt in areas, the world’s economy looks to be taking a hit too. Businesses have had a lot to worry about, and here’s some of the ways it can affect them:

 

Stocks

Last week, the stock market flopped massively, to a level not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. They have started to recover, but there are a lot of companies still suffering due to reduction in demand. 

William Foster, Moody’s Investors Service’s vice president and lead US analyst said on the matter “Obviously there has been concern voiced in the market that this is not being contained and more needs to be done.”

“Now we’re starting to see a response from the US federal government, the administration and Congress that. I think that’s going to be part of the solution to supporting the economy… and ultimately stabilising the markets.”

 

Travel

Another industry that has been impacted massively by the coronavirus, maybe hardest of all, is the travel and tourism sector.

Flybe operated many UK domestic flights, but made a lot of its money from flights to Germany France and Italy. Unfortunately, with these countries struggling to contain COVID-19, their bookings dropped 50% from this time last year. For a company that was already loss-making, this seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.

Big airlines such as British Airways and Ryanair are experiencing a near freefall in bookings and cancellations, and Easyjet is even imposing a pay freeze on staff to compensate for lost income. They’ve recently announced that their annual profits will look a lot slimmer due to the outbreak.

 

Hospitality

Owners of restaurants, hotels, bars and nightclubs are currently pleading for emergency government assistance, as bookings are being cancelled en masse. In London alone, sales were reportedly down 7% in the last week, with some nightclub owners saying that they’ve had up to 30% of their booked customers not turn up as of late. 

Takeaway companies could also be causing harm. Since 2009, food poisoning cases such as norovirus have doubled, and food delivery drivers could accidentally be carrying coronavirus.

Roger Whiteside, CEO of Greggs has raised this issue recently, worried that his business may be negatively affected by COVID-19. He offered to pay staff who have to self-isolate in a conversation with BBC’s Today.

“Our default position is that we pay contract hours. We don’t have any zero contract hours,” he said.

Whiteside’s comments come in light of their recent success, which could be concerning for business owners that rely on the high streets being full.

 

Shipping

Shipping is another sector that has taken a massive hit economically. China houses some of the most active shipping ports in the world, and 80% of goods are transported by ships.

The outbreak has caused factories in China to close down, which has wreaked havoc on China’s national economy, and caused huge inconveniences to those who were relying on the goods.

Consumer trust has dropped, and with that there are generally less orders being made. This is hurting the exporters who ship luxury items to China too.

 

What do I do about it?

You can view the government’s official guide here.

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