Travel disruptions, insecurity and the inability to make business decisions, as well as the dwindling demand for products are the main problems Greek businesses are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
More specifically, according to an AmCham survey on the impact of Covi-19 carried out on 281 Greek businesses in the March 6-20 period, the majority of companies said they were being affected by the virus and are expecting a decrease in their projected revenues.
According to the survey, more than half of small companies (under 50 employees) are anticipating a decrease of more than 50 percent of their revenues.
The only companies expecting increased revenue, expanded investment decisions and employability are those operating in the food & beverages, technology and health sectors. Companies in these three areas said they had already taken additional measures to address the crisis including implementation of health safety measures in the workplace, the digitization of their operating mode, as well as the cancelation of all their business activities.
Travel and tourism enterprises appear to be hardest hit by the coronavirus health crisis impacting both business operations as well as demand. Indicatively dozens of tourism-related events and conferences have been canceled in Greece because of Covid-19, including the Food Expo, the Delphi Economic Forum, and Posidonia shipping event.
Indicatively, 75 percent of the companies polled said they had canceled their attendance or participation in local or international conferences and exhibitions.
In efforts to avoid collapse, businesses are relying on state aid to avoid layoffs as well as to be able to keep up with ongoing costs. At the same time, companies’ planned investments have also been put on the back burner due to Covid-19.
As a first emergency step, 13 percent canceled all business activities, 12 percent operated with skeleton-staff, and 10 percent implemented at a stay at home policy.
In terms of state effectiveness and measures with regard to the coronavirus effect on businesses, 44 percent of those polled said that more could be done, compared to 42 percent who said they were satisfied.
It should be noted that the majority of companies are seeking state support in the form of tax and loan liability postponement, lower lending rates, employee wage subsidies, and deferred social security contribution payments.
With regard to remote work implemented by 85 percent of the companies, polled participants found their employees to be equally productive (37 percent), while 33 percent claimed they were less productive.
Lastly, due to pervading uncertainty, the majority (59 percent) of companies said it was too soon to predict when business activity will return to “normal levels of operation”, with 31 percent expecting regular activity to gradually pick up in the summer.