27 Mar How is COVID-19 affecting businesses in Leeds?
The coronavirus outbreak, which stemmed from China, has had big economical effects on businesses all over the world. The outbreak primarily affected small to medium sized businesses, but it has now gone on to affect more bigger businesses.
In the UK, there are currently over 9,529 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 52 being in Leeds. Below are the key reasons why businesses have been affected by the coronavirus.
Social distancing has had a huge effect on businesses across Leeds and the UK. Rules have been put in place to stay at least 2m away from other people at all times, proving problematic to workers like hairdressers, dentists and more. People across the country have stopped going into shops and this has put stress on small businesses, as without clients they will not be able to stay open.
As people have stopped going out to socialise, cinemas and other forms of entertainment have been closed. Festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella have been postponed or cancelled to try prevent the spread of this pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused people across Leeds and the UK to panic buy food, toilet roll, hand sanitizer and other household essentials. This has put severe stress on supermarkets due to the lack of food and staff and some shops have had reduce their opening hours to give more time to restock the empty shelves.
In addition to this, panic buyers have made it hard for other people get food and other necessities and this is why supermarkets like Aldi, Iceland, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have dedicated hours to elderly and more vulnerable shoppers, key workers and NHS staff.
The effects of lockdown and self-isolation
Since the prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced lockdown on Monday night, the effects on businesses have become more severe. Non-essential shops like clothing shops, hairdressers, electrical shops, books stores and more have been forced to close with no set date to re-open. The closure of these shops has put many people out of work and this is why the government have put a new rule in place, stating that they will pay 80% of employee wages, if a company was going to make a member of staff redundant.
Moreover, the Chancellor announced that businesses can apply for loans with an initial amount of £330 billion of guarantees, which is equivalent to 15% of the UK’s GDP. There are also currently talks about what the government should do to assist self employed workers who do not qualify for statuary sick pay; however, nothing has yet been put in place.
Loss of jobs and pay reductions
Even though the government have tried to reduce the amount of redundancy and job loss, some businesses just cannot afford to keep all of their staff. In addition to this, people who have had to claim statutory sick pay (£94.25 per week) have encountered pay reductions making it harder to pay bills like mortgages. Therefore, due to the loss of money, they do not have as much money to spend on luxury items, effecting other businesses.