JUST 18% of businesses in Cork are fully open and operational currently, while 28% have fully shut down.
New figures from Cork Chamber and Chambers Ireland show that 23% of businesses in Cork have scaled down, while a further 31% have closed their front office and are working from home.
Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy has said that while current Government measures to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business community are welcome, more must be done.
“It is clear that further steps must be taken to minimise economic damage along with greater clarity on how the economic recovery plan aligns with public health requirements.
“It is essential that we now agree short, medium and long term steps to secure our economic, societal and political stability. With business in Cork projecting a 43% revenue drop in 2020 we have some sense of what the impact looks like and we must take steps appropriately,” Mr Healy said.
“We have an opportunity, through strong ambition equivalent to a contemporary Marshall Plan to lay the foundations for a stable and better economy and society and to leave a legacy of resilience and sustainability for generations to come,” he added.
Mr Healy outlined a number of steps that need to be taken to ensure deeper cash flow interventions such as a deferral of VAT and PRSI.
He has also called for commercial rates to be waived for six months or longer where businesses remain closed, but said local authorities must be reimbursed.
A deferral of utility charges and rent payments and additional sector supports, particularly for tourism, hospitality and retail are also suggested.
“In the short to medium term, construction must be at the forefront of infrastructure-led stimulus, with housing and sustainable mobility as a focus. The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, and significant NDP projects such as roads, schools, hospitals and the Cork Event Centre are prime opportunities,” Mr Healy said.
He went on to say that walkways, greenways, parks and planting must be improved and accelerated as they are “key to recovery, mental health and long-term quality of life.” Mr Healy said that Ireland must support the EU Green deal, and that businesses powered by green energy must be supported though the Renewable Energy Subsidy Scheme.
“Finally, a phased roll back of supports at point of recovery is essential. A steady scaling down rather than an abrupt stop point is the only way to get our economy back in gear,” Mr Healy concluded.