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Survey highlights pandemic’s business impact

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Pandemic impact: how different types of businesses have fared, according to the findings of the foot survey (Graphic by Bermuda Chamber of Commerce)

About six out of ten local businesses have fully reopened again amid the disruption caused by Covid-19, a Bermuda Chamber of Commerce survey has found.The foot survey carried out between July 29 and August 19 found that 8 per cent, or about 45 businesses, had closed fully, while another one third of businesses had been temporarily closed and were operating on reduced hours.A total of 558 businesses across the island were surveyed, comprising 345 in Hamilton, 67 in St George’s, 95 in North Hamilton and 51 in Dockyard. The results offer a glimpse into the damage to businesses caused by restrictions on normal life to combat the spread of the virus, including shelter-in-place and social distancing.Businesses in and around Hamilton appear to be recovering more strongly than those at the more tourism-reliant east and west ends of the island.Of the top four sectors included, the 90 clothing businesses were the worst hit in terms of permanent closures, with 11 per cent having closed their doors for good.The other three sectors included were food and beverage, personal care and specialty stores, which includes gift stores, homewares, unique products and combination stores. By geographical area, North Hamilton was the worst hit by closures with 15 per cent of businesses permanently closed, closely followed by St George’s with 13 per cent.However, three-quarters of North Hamilton businesses said they were fully open, the highest proportion in the four areas, followed by Hamilton with 69 per cent.The devastating impact on tourism was visible in the data from both ends of the island. Only 6 per cent of businesses in Dockyard and 26 per cent in St George’s were found to be fully open. In the West End, 90 per cent of businesses were either operating on reduced hours or were temporarily closed, while in the East End, the figure was 61 per cent.The breakdown of the results is:Food and beverage: fully open 60 per cent, permanently closed 5 per cent, temporarily closed 8 per cent, reduced hours 27 per cent.Personal care: fully open 85 per cent, permanently closed 5 per cent, temporarily closed 2 per cent, reduced hours 8 per cent. Clothing: fully open 50 per cent, permanently closed 11 per cent, temporarily closed 7 per cent, reduced hours 32 per cent. Specialty: fully open 42 per cent, permanently closed 3 per cent, temporarily closed 18 per cent, reduced hours 37 per cent.Kendaree Burgess, CEO at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to share this valuable and important information with its members and the broader businesses community. “The survey provides a great insight across a broad range of business in Bermuda. The impact of Covid-19 on local business is unmistakable and we will continue to advocate on their part. “The Chamber will repeat the survey later in the year and again in the spring of 2021 to provide a more fulsome study on the impact of Covid-19 on local business.” • See slides relating to the survey data under the heading of Related Media on this webpage

Kendaree Burgess, CEO of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce