Bars, restaurants, shops: more than half saw revenues cut in half in phase 2. Almost three out of ten fear they won’t make it

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MILAN – How has the business of the traders gone in the two weeks of reopening after the lockdown for the coronavirus emergency? Over eight out of ten companies have increased the shutters on average, even if the percentage drops to 73% among bars and restaurants which are confirmed among the most affected in business by the new lifestyle and consumption imposed by the virus. But bringing customers back to shops and businesses is very complicated: more than half of businesses estimate that the turnover compared to normal has at least halved, if not more. So much so that there is a 28% of small exhibitors who see a possible definitive closure on the horizon in the clouds.

These are the data of an investigation that Confcommercio carried out with Swg conducted in these days of restarting the business. The association’s study office notes that, among those who kept the activities frozen, the impediments concerned primarily “the adaptation of the premises to health safety protocols”.

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In general, among the companies that reopened “the management of the sanitization-sanitization protocols and the reorganization of the workspaces have been conducted successfully and without particular difficulties, although in the second week some additional problems emerge compared to the previous week, confirming the impression that the desire to reopen implies, in some cases, an understandable underestimation of some difficulties “.

The “sore point” detected is precisely the volume of business, which for bars and restaurants in 40% of cases is seventy percentage points lower than what was recorded before the pandemic.

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Among the support measures put in place by the government from Cura Italia onwards, these small businesses (very often headed by one person) have drawn on the 600 euro bonus (already 44% would have benefited from it against a 21% which remains pending and 35% not interested) while the layoffs in derogation were explored by less than half of the sample, with only 17% who managed to collect it. State-guaranteed loans also do not seem to have been very successful, given that two thirds of companies (68%) say they have not applied for them in the bank.

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The survey, Confcommercio concludes, highlights how the central question for this type of activity, beyond a few days more or less waiting, is structural: “28% of the interviewees say that, in the absence of a improvement of the current business conditions, will assess the definitive closure of the company in the coming months. To corroborate this suggestion there are concerns that in the near future you will still have to apply for a loan (50% of the sample), you will not be able to pay the suppliers (40%) or to incur fixed costs (43%) “. The doubt is therefore about “the ability, the possibility, to remain open, that is, to achieve a satisfactory economic balance (together with a cash flow that allows to sustain at least the fixed costs)”. A challenge amplified by the expected change in consumption that does not offer certainties on how many Italians – from here to the next few months – will return to having a coffee or a hot dish outside the home.

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