Covid in the community is having a big effect on business in the Isle of Man.
Many companies are short of staff and have seen sales fall.
And, according to a survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce, government announcements about the number of cases and deaths was, according to many survey respondents, exacerbating fears among the general public.
The survey was carried out in the first week in August which gathered the views of 49 of its members who operate in those sectors.
The chamber, which is made up of a group of company bosses, says the results also confirm the ’summer slump’ predicted in the recent review carried out by PwC on behalf of the Department for Enterprise into the island’s hospitality sector because a large number of residents have left the island at a time when visitor numbers are restricted by border controls and event cancellations.
It looks at sales compared with the same week in 2019. Seventy-eight per cent of those who replied said that sales were down.
And business as down 77% compared with June 28, 2021.
Chamber chief executive Rebecca George said: ’A key concern expressed in the survey is the lack of consumer confidence to go out, and the impact that is continuing to have on businesses in these service sectors.
’Many respondents commented that they feel government is not doing enough to address this issue which affects retail, lifestyle and hospitality more than it does most other sectors because of the challenges of social distancing.
’With so many people working from home again, Douglas businesses are experiencing more downward pressure and sales slumped between the end of June and July, and they are only recovering in limited areas.
’Businesses are also being affected by staff shortages with only 56% of respondents saying that they are fully staffed.’
When asked if staff and customers wearing masks while on their premises was increasing consumer confidence, a majority of respondents (58.9%) said it did not.
Government is offering help via the Coronavirus Business Support Scheme, but in the Chamber survey over three quarters (77.5%) of retail, lifestyle and hospitality businesses said they had not applied for it.
When asked why they hadn’t applied 65.3% said they didn’t think their business qualified, and 30.7% said it was because they weren’t aware of the scheme.
Chamber is carrying out a series of surveys to gather the opinions of the business community.
It’s part of its plan – based on Chamber’s Business Manifesto – to press for business and economic concerns to be pushed up the political agenda ahead of next month’s general election.