More than half (53%) of city centre businesses are worried they may face permanent closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey by FOR Cardiff.
Furthermore, 21% of businesses have already made staff redundancies or are going to make them, with 51% concerned about the prospect of staff redundancies, meaning many are facing unemployment.
The organisation, which is the city’s business improvement district, is running a weekly city-wide impact survey to gauge the scale of the economic impact of the global health emergency on Cardiff’s businesses.
The survey will help FOR Cardiff pool resources to best help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on behalf of their members. The first round of the survey received 149 responses.
Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff said: “The coronavirus is affecting all of us and is already having an enormous impact on the global and local economy. Cardiff is no exception.
“The results from the survey demonstrate the need for greater clarity on financial support and how -to access it on a local and national level, especially in relation to sole traders andthe self-employed.
The main request for support is for rent reduction, cash flow grants and waiving utility bills. Members are also concerned about the welfare of their staff in relation to the impact on their finances and mental health.
Field continued: “We will be doing everything we can to help businesses access the relevant support. We will be lobbying the appropriate agencies to ensure any support given is able to meet our businesses’ needs. We will be adapting the survey weekly to reflect the ever-changing situation.
“We urge any of our members to contact us for advice and we will do everything in our powers to support them. We will be working tirelessly to ensure Cardiff is a vibrant and welcoming city when the time is right for businesses to reopen in the centre.”
As well as the survey, FOR Cardiff is currently working on a range of initiatives to help their members during this time including:
- A virtual high street “Shop Cardiff” to showcase all members and non-members’ businesses in the city who have an online, gift card and delivery presence.
- An online sales tool to help businesses sell products via “Shop Cardiff” whereby orders received, and payments made will be passed directly from FOR Cardiff to the business.
- A series of webinars via FORCardiff.com covering issues such as sick pay, supporting staff who are parents, guardians or carers and supporting vulnerable staff members.
- Continuation of cleansing team services on high footfall areas of the city centre.
- Actively promoting members’ business changes 24/7 and messages through FOR Cardiff’s social media channels.
The second survey is available to complete on https://www.forcardiff.com/ and will close on 5pm on Friday 27th March 2020.