One respondent wrote: ‘’Our main problem is supply chain of customers. We are 80 per cent reliant on international markets and 20 per cent domestic. We will have to shift that focus to 100 per cent domestic in the coming months.’’
As lock-down enters the third week, nearly half of all respondents stated their employees were unable to work. Only four per cent had all staff working as an essential service.
If lock-down were to continue past four weeks, respondents expecting significant negative financial impact rose to 87 per cent, with further negative impact expected on employee wellbeing (67 per cent, up from current 30 per cent of respondents citing it to date).
The bulk of businesses asked for further financial support: wage support/subsidies, cashflow support, lease holidays or other rent support.
Other support asked for included business advice, tax relief, marketing support, and funding for R&D.
One respondent said: ‘’If the Government can unlock funding initiatives for R&D projects we can be fully utilised on productive work. This would better prepare us for when we exit the lockdown as we might have new products to present to the market.’’
The bulk of the 447 respondents came from manufacturing (16 per cent), other, accommodation and food, and tourism and travel industries. Nearly half were focused on domestic markets only, with 34 per cent focused only on the Canterbury market.
The survey was commissioned in order to better understand the regional impact of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, across different industries, and ensure support was focused appropriately.
Leeann Watson, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said they had engaged with thousands of businesses over the last three weeks through their COVID-19 advice line, webinars and over email.
Watson said the survey results support the sentiment of the businesses they have been supporting and offering advice to.