Nearly 80 per cent of Noosa businesses managed to remain open during the most restrictive period of the global COVID-19 pandemic, but many had to endure a dramatic drop in turnover.
That’s one of the findings from the Noosa Business Roundtable survey, conducted between May 29 and June 22 received.
From the 689 responses, 83 per cent reported a drop in turnover with about half experiencing a fall in revenue of more than 60 per cent.
Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart said the findings are a sobering reminder of how COVID-19 hit the local economy and the potential risks associated with any future lockdowns.
“The results certainly paint a devastating picture and indicate how challenging it is for our business owners,” she said.
Most business owners admitted to experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, but were focussed on doing what they could to remain viable.
The survey revealed a reduction of about 2,119 jobs during the pandemic, with 64 per cent of business owners admitting they reduced staff.
A third of the businesses said they managed to avoid cutting staff.
Sixty-five per cent had taken up the JobKeeper assistance package or secured rent relief from landlords.
Economic Development manager Anthony Dow said the results provide critical baseline data to shape recovery programs.
“The honest feedback is appreciated and gives us the ability to better understand the current climate and help focus our representation to state and federal politicians,” he said.
It’s not all doom and gloom though.
About 44 per cent considered there are opportunities to grow their business, while about a third of respondents said they were exploring digital-technology initiatives such as apps or ecommerce.
There are plans to conduct the survey quarterly to monitor the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic and to help shape recovery programs and future advocacy.
“We really want all business operators to provide feedback so we can properly gauge how the economy is progressing,” Mr Dow said.
Cr Stewart said Council was committed to helping all sectors recover.
“With our nine point recovery plan, the top priority is to help the Noosa economy to revive and thrive,”
“We have delivered a number of initiatives in the council budget to generate jobs and boost economic activity and we’ll continue to listen to operators and assist where we can,” Cr Stewart said.