Most firms can be ready to restart operations in three weeks as the UK lockdown begins to ease, according to the latest Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
Smaller businesses may be able to restart operations more quickly, the survey found. Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents employing fewer than 10 people say they would need less than one week, compared to half (50%) of respondents with more than 50 employees.
“Over the coming days, business communities will require clear forward guidance from government on plans to re-open parts of the economy, transport networks, schools and local services,” said BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall.
“Our results show that businesses’ ability to restart quickly varies by company size, and by sector.
“For these reasons and more, it will be crucial for the government to maintain and evolve support for businesses, to give as many firms as possible the chance to navigate a phased return to work.
“While the fight against coronavirus must remain the top priority, the communication of plans for the easing of restrictions must also begin immediately. The Chamber Network will continue to work constructively with governments across the UK to plan a coherent path forward.”
Over two-thirds (68%) of business-to-business service firms said that they would need less than one week or no notice to restart operations, compared to 50 % of business-to-consumer service firms.
The weekly tracker poll, which serves as a barometer of the pandemic’s impact on businesses and the effectiveness of government support measures, received 540 responses. The sixth tranche of polling was conducted April 29 – May 1.
It will continue to monitor business attitudes toward the restart of the economy – and the gradual release of the UK lockdown – over the coming weeks.