With indicators now comparable to the lowest points of the financial crisis, consumer and business spending in the months ahead, influenced by government policy, will shape the post-Covid world.
To date, the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has rested almost entirely in the hands of federal governments as they moved unprecedented sums of money to protect their economies and businesses from the worst aspects of the outbreak.
The relationship between public health, consumer confidence and the business community has never been so important.
As we move into the next phase of the reopening of society and the economy, that responsibility will be shared among Government, businesses and ultimately, consumers. Ireland was the fastest-growing economy in Europe for five consecutive years leading into the pandemic and economic growth usually projects strong consumer confidence.
If Ireland is to rebound from the current crisis and regain the optimism that has characterised the economy in recent years it will need the collective response of Government and the spending power of its citizens to reboot the damaged economy.
Though the toll on our society from the Covid-19 pandemic will be hard to forget there are glimmers of hope for how a successful recovery can now be achieved.
With consumer confidence intrinsically linked to their confidence in public health over the coming months, the Government will have a number of difficult decisions to make in relation to the easing of lockdown and reopening of the economy.
But it is important to remember that economic growth depends on the spending of consumers and of businesses - governments alone will not drive the hoped-for resurgence and it will be our responsibility as citizens to show confidence in the sectors of our economy that need it most.
This will require a collective effort to go out for a meal, to buy a lunch from our local café and to go to the cinema when they open back again.
Businesses will also have a role to play through their spending, investment and corporate social responsibility programmes. But in some cases, sadly, the income will not be there to play as big a role as they may wish to.
The monthly consumer sentiment index from KBC Bank and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) from March 2020 to April 2020 has seen the largest month-on-month decrease in the history of the survey, dropping from 77.3 in March to 42.6 in April.
Although the month of May saw some signs of recovery with the index rising, the research division of wealth management company Davy was forecasting consumer spending to drop 12.5pc in 2020. The sentiment index will require much more spending from Irish consumers if it is to climb back to the 89.9 recorded in May of 2019.
As Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland, said: "These figures are of significant concern to us all but they have been the result of the correct decision to prioritise public health. Throughout this pandemic ACCA has been surveying small businesses on a weekly basis and we know from the most recent data that less than half of businesses are confident in cash streams over the next four weeks.
"Now, as we look into the months ahead we will all have a part to play in their recovery and ensure the worst effects of the pandemic are behind us."
Neil Gibson, chief economist at EY, was speaking at a business webinar event hosted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)