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Fri 6th Mar 2020 - Sector bosses reveal action being taken to minimise coronavirus risk as industry confidence crumbles
Sector bosses reveal action being taken to minimise coronavirus risk as industry confidence crumbles: Sector bosses have revealed what action they are taking in a bid to minimise the risk of coronavirus as the outbreak continues to spread in the UK. A snap survey conducted by CGA of almost 100 bosses from small entrepreneurial operations up to large corporates showed almost half (48%) are developing a plan to minimise the impact of potential site closures. Meanwhile, more than four-fifths (83%) of leaders are producing staff guidelines to encourage hygienic practices and almost two-thirds (64%) are producing guidelines for employees in case of isolation cases. Three-fifths (60%) of respondents are producing staff guidelines on how to self-isolate and 56% with regards to travel and health. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (65%) said they were increasing availability of hand sanitisers on-site and 61% are minimising cash flow risks. When it comes to paying staff who self-isolate, almost half (47%) definitively said they will do this while 45% haven’t made a decision yet. Only 8% suggest they won’t pay staff who self-isolate because of the virus. The survey showed confidence among the bosses of Britain’s pub and restaurant groups has been fractured by the double whammy of coronavirus and the government’s new immigration policy. The study found 85% of senior executives across the out-of-home food and drink market are “concerned” about the threat of coronavirus to their business, with 58% of leaders “very concerned”. It revealed the majority are expecting a hit on sales, with more than two-fifths (42%) suggesting it will have an “extremely negative” impact and 51% stating it would be “quite negative”. In addition, more than half (51%) predict it will have an “extremely negative” impact on their profitability, with a further 44% suggesting it would be “relatively negative”. A separate poll of consumers by CGA revealed the public may not be quite as concerned as leaders, with less than three-fifths (57%) of respondents predicting they will eat and drink out as much during the next three months as they currently do. However, concerns among pub, bar and restaurant operators about the outbreak and the government’s announcement of tougher immigration rules has left only one-fifth of leaders confident in their capabilities to recruit, train and retrain a workforce and has led overall business confidence to take a tumble. At the start of the month CGA’s annual Business Leaders’ Survey, conducted in partnership with hospitality technology company Fourth, showed sector optimism at a four-year high. This latest poll shows in a matter of weeks it has fallen to the lowest point since immediately after the EU referendum, with only 16% of bosses now optimistic about the market during the next 12 months, down from 60%. Optimism around their own business’ prospects has also plummeted, with only 29% optimistic, a fall from 83% in early February.

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