Express & Star comment: Few business winners amid pandemic
When it comes to the business world, there have been few winners during the coronavirus pandemic.
Granted, there are companies which have thrived due to changes in consumer behaviour. Supermarkets have posted record sales figures in recent months, while delivery firms have coined it in due primarily to the boom in online retail during the lockdown.
Yet the list of ‘losers’ is far longer, with companies of all sizes across a range of industries forced to prepare for some tough times that lie ahead.
The region’s aerospace sector is already experiencing the fall out from the woes of the airline industry, with orders falling on the back of the likes of easyJet and British Airways having to cancel tens of thousands of flights.
High street retail has naturally taken a hit due to non-essential shops being closed, and the pandemic has also been bad news for pubs and most restaurants. However, the virus could well take many more victims in the months to come.
Hundreds of theatres across the country are at risk of permanent closure, as are nightclubs, with bosses fearing they may not be able to open their doors to customers until next year due to continued social distancing restrictions.
There is no doubt that the future is bleak for many venues – and that is without taking into consideration the further devastation that a second wave of the virus would cause.
Dozens of other areas that contribute greatly to our economy, from beauty salons to musicians, are also feeling the pinch. In the year ahead, we are told to expect jobless figures to return to levels not seen since the dark days of the 1980s, as the economy enters a deep recession.
Huge investment from central government will undoubtedly be required to get the region up and running again, although whether any cash will be available is an entirely different matter. Challenging months and years are ahead of us – and that applies equally to sectors of the economy that have thrived throughout the pandemic. Everyone suffers when people have less money in their pockets.