Around 30 percent of SMEs are afraid that in the course of the next three months, the virus may cause a fall in sales and of worker availability, according to the study.
The research, commissioned by “Reliable Company” (Rzetelna Firma) a certification firm working under the patronage of the National Debt Register, showed that in the first week of March, almost 39 percent of companies in the SME sector felt the negative impact of growing numbers of coronavirus infection in Europe and worldwide.
The poll was carried out before the cancellation of mass sporting events, announced on Tuesday, and before the cancellation of several concerts and other occasions, which also impact on tourism, a realm where small business is very much engaged. The Development Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz has estimated that the effect on tourism could be as much as PLN 1.0 bn (EUR 236 mln).
Some 37.5 percent of those polled said that their costs of doing business were likely to rise and one in three firms noted a visible fall in sales and production. A further 27.5 percent of those surveyed have cash flow difficulties.
Companies are primarily afraid of reduced sales (57 percent) and lack of manpower (51 percent). To a lesser degree they fear raised costs of doing business (35 percent) and limited investment (30 percent).
Asked how long an enterprise could last without declaring bankruptcy if the SARS-CoV-2 spreads in Poland and large-scale quarantine is imposed, 11 percent of those polled indicated one month at the most, 19 percent said three months and 24 percent claimed they could survive for half a year. A further 26 percent of respondents said their enterprise could survive a year.
The research was conducted by IMAS in the first week of March on a sample of 206 companies from the SME sector.