Since the advent of the Coronavirus in late 2019, the virus has spread to over 140 countries, negatively impacting key sectors of an economy. Late in March of last year, the Government of Ghana instituted a partial lockdown and other restrictive measures for 3 weeks. This had an adverse impact on many businesses.
Covid-19 restrictions and business
Many businesses both during and after the lockdown protocol struggled, while others were able to transition successfully and implement work-from-home policies. Some businesses were quick to change their models by harnessing the power of technology, mainly the internet to meet the needs of their customers.
Three industries, in particular, are severely impacted by the coronavirus. These are the hospitality, tourism, and entertainment industries. These 3 industries are intertwined at some level. Tourist attraction sites attract foreigners into the country, foreigners who troop into the country lodge in hotels and guest houses, and eat from the finest restaurants (hospitality). During their stay, foreigners seek thrills from a wide range of entertainment activities, some of which include night clubs, pubs, cinemas and beaches.
With the new strain of the COVID-19 virus rearing its ugly head and lockdown protocols still enforced across many regions in the world, the tourism industry still faces a deep dive, affecting our hotels and entertainment centres. Moreover, with President Akufo Addo still enforcing the ban on nightclubs, beaches and cinemas, the industries haven’t yet had the chance to recoup from the previous lockdown protocols. And now, with the talk of a second possible lockdown, these industries may be at the brink of collapse.
“Yes, there is a possibility of some more restrictions being introduced. Especially with regard to how this trend is going. If these numbers keep rising where the average daily increases to 210- 250 that means in five days we will be hitting about 1000 plus.
So if it continues, then as the President himself articulated; then we are heading for more restrictions and if it means reviewing some of the legal instrument [we will do so],” the Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said at a press briefing
With an already ailing economy and sectors, what can businesses do particularly those in the hospitality and entertainment industry to brace themselves from another round of lockdown procedures, should it occur?
1. Assess the impact of the previous lockdown on your business.
If you haven’t yet done so, then begin to connect with relevant stakeholders which include your employees, suppliers, business partners, and customers. Devise the means to conduct a thorough and honest review of how the lockdown in 2020 affected your business, in relation to all stakeholders.
Focus on such key metrics as;
- Sales: Make a detailed assessment of how COVID-19 has affected your sales revenue, with respect to both online and in-person patronage. This will provide you with a clear picture of the area to effectively boost.
Finances: Examine how the pandemic has affected your cash flow as well as cash reserves.
Opportunities: Review your supply chain processes to fish out any business opportunities that may have been lost and develop ways to regain that opportunity.
Employee availability: Evaluate how the imposed restrictions affected your employees’ mobility particularly in the case where working from home wasn’t an option.
2. Covid-19 restrictions and business; Prepare for business Disruption
After assessing how the previous lockdown protocols affected your business, it is time to prepare for further disruptions should a lockdown or further restrictions be re-imposed.
Plan for reduced revenue flow: Prioritize expenditures and take quick and decisive action to delay or remove non-essential expenses such as travel, business renovations and other property improvements and capital projects.
- Prepare to branch into a short-term venture: Draw up plans to venture into a short-term venture that can generate a sustainable source of revenue. Take advantage of an opportunity that is rife for the period. Online ventures such as e-commerce and online tuition offers good revenue generating options. The aim is to capitalize on the possible restriction protocols that may occur.
- Get in touch with debtors: Get in touch with debtors and re-negotiate payments even if it is in just small amounts.
- Business continuity measures: One major thing that COVID-19 has taught businesses is the importance of having a disaster preparedness and business continuity plan. Ensure all data and relevant information are safely secured and protected and properties covered by an insurance policy to ensure business continuity. “Cloud Computing” should be an area to look at for business continuity.
Covid-19 restrictions and business; Supportive Operational measures
- Health protocols: Ensure all your staff ,including you, abide by all health and safety protocols such as the washing of the hands with soap and water, the use of hand sanitizers, the wearing of masks, and the disinfecting of used surfaces frequently among others.
- Issue invoices: Issue invoices immediately when goods are delivered to keep track of expenses.
- Increase online presence: Many businesses are taking advantage of the virtual world to reach out to consumers in these dire times and so should you. Boosting your online presence is a great way to stay afloat and reach out to an untapped customer base.
- Reduce staff cost: Where necessary or if possible see if you can reduce costs by making a few adjustments.
Currently, there are over 100 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with over 2 million deaths. In Ghana, the cases stand at over 62,000 with 372 deaths. With the numbers showing no sign of a decrease, businesses must do well to prepare for the harsh realities ahead.