A year ago, nobody could have predicted the changes that 2020 have bought. With every passing year, people tend to increase their hopes and expectations for better future. However, the current year has put a cork in the bottle of these expectations. The emergence of a deadly pandemic at the very start of this year has affected some 15.2 million people (subject to change due to evolving situation) around the globe. The recent studies have highlighted that this pandemic has not only affected multiple sectors simultaneously but has also brought the covert sectors on the surface. Moreover, this might just be the tip of an iceberg.
One of the sectors most debated about following Covid-19 and has certainly put the government in a dilemma of economy versus health is the impact of this ongoing pandemic on businesses. According to the recent report by OECD, the unemployment rate of UK is likely to reach to record high of 11.7% by the end of this year. How the government and people are going to overcome this unprecedented challenge is yet to be seen.
Impact of Covid-19 on Businesses in Bristol
Bristol is one of the most successful and economically vibrant cities in UK. However, it too is not safe from the wrath of Covid-19. Even though, there are no recent statistics shared by government related to unemployment in Bristol, the reports by international organizations suggest that things are pretty serious there.
Major Challenges faced by Businesses in Bristol
The major challenges being faced by businesses due to Covid-19 in Bristol are listed below,
Colossal Decrease in Orders and Sales
As the government of UK imposed a lockdown in March, 2020 in order to maintain social distancing, Bristol saw a wave of panic and fear running across the businesses. With no proper planning and solution in sight, the businesses belonging to manufacturing and services sector saw considerable decline in orders and sales. Furthermore, businesses in downward trajectory have seen significant decline of more than 50% in their business related activities. As the distribution set up had also been disturbed due to freezing of transport systems, this has further added to the misery of businesses in Bristol. In other words, ever since the lockdown has been imposed, businesses have been earning less to no profits at all.
Less Survival Chances of Businesses
Another major challenge being faced by businesses in Bristol is less chances of survival. According to a survey conducted by Business West Chambers of Commerce, out of thousands of business who had taken the survey, only 16% were hopeful of their survival chances if the lockdown due to pandemic lasts for 6 months or more. This gives a real brain-scratching problem for authorities to chalk out a plan in order to help businesses survive under such difficult times.
As the profits are declining due to lockdown situation, more and more workers are being laid off by the employers. Moreover, it has brought businesses to another dilemma. Having more workers mean more production and more production can lead to more profits. As the movement restrictions being imposed by government have forced workers to work from home, manufacturing sectors have been adversely affected. With less production, there are very minute profits. This in turn has forced them to layoff the workers. Thus, as mentioned before, unemployment rates are more likely to rise further as lockdown is definitely not a sustainable approach in terms of economy.
As the business profits are plummeting due to Covid-19, more businesses are finding themselves at the doors of lenders. With more businesses functioning on debts, if the pandemic persists for another year, which is unlikely due to the recent good news related to vaccination, the businesses will be on the verge of bankruptcy and in worst case scenario, will be shut down permanently. Even though, government has offered multiple schemes to save businesses, it is not a sustainable solution as it is based on short-term benefits.
Another major challenge being faced by businesses is how to restart them. As soon as more restrictions are uplifted, businesses will have to rehire the laid off employees or recruit new ones. This will require massive investment and efforts. How they are going to deal with it is yet to be seen.
One of the trials and tribulations of 21st century which will be remembered as an important historical event is Covid-19. This ongoing pandemic has negatively impacted various sectors of businesses in Bristol. It is indispensable for government to come up with an out-of-box solution in order to eradicate the major stumbling blocks in the path of businesses to thrive.