Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.
However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.
Impact on SMEs
Due to the rapid spread of the virus, the government are taking measures now to limit exposure to this virus. Accordingly, less people will be out and about. Let’s look at the impacts of coronavirus on a restaurant, for instance (which can be applied across other industries as well):
1. Sales - Cancelled events, occasions and appointments
With more people being forced into lock down to protect themselves, there will inevitably be less and less people out, and more cancellations.
2. Sales - Less foot traffic
Less foot traffic means a higher impact on travel, retail and hospitality industries as there will be less available customers around. Some business owners have decided to “close” altogether to adapt to this new business environment.
3. Supplies – Limited delivery times + supply chain disruptions (international products)
As less people will be at work globally, this will have a significant impact from the factory worker that assembles the product, all the way to the delivery driver that drops the product to the customer.
4. Financial - Insurance – business interruption ‘wording’
Check your insurance policy wordings to see if it is covered against instances of coronavirus. Most business interruption policies are not.
5. Financial - Ongoing expenses
With coronavirus at the forefront of businesses, ongoing fixed expenses still need to be incurred by the business. Think of expense items such as taxes, ongoing subscriptions, rent and other direct-debits.
6. Financial – Full-time/Part-time staff expenses – annual leave/sick leave
Except in the case of a ‘enforceable government direction’, businesses are still obligated to pay their permanent staff during these times. During an enforceable government direction, all employees can be stood down without pay for the period of the stand down.
7. Financial – Budget and reserves
Businesses will be forced to dip into their reserves/retained earnings to get through this period, and also revise their expectations and budget.
8. HR - More stringent OHS policy
Businesses will need to adopt a more stringent Occupational, Health and Safety (OHS) if they are allowed to trade under limited conditions.
9. HR - Cautious/sick workforce
With more people getting infected with the coronavirus, employees may be fearful to work under such conditions and may refuse to work.
10. Mindset and outlook
Last but not least, the mindset and outlook of the business owner and the business may be affected due to such difficult circumstances.
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What you will get:
· Certainty if you are well-prepared to maximize the concessions available to you
· Confidence in being able to prepare yourself and take action
· Clarity on what you need to do next
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I look forward to helping you during this difficult period. Together, we will get through this. Stay strong, and be great.