Measures to deal with the unfolding public health emergency are expected to have a significant impact on local businesses, according to the Arklow and District Chamber of Commerce.
The body, which represents local businesses, has echoed the Chambers Ireland's call for flexibility from State agencies towards SMEs in the coming weeks 'so that we may ensure business continuity through this crisis'.
A spokesperson for the Arklow Chamber of Commerce said the local chamber fully supported the decision to close schools, pubs and limit public events, 'and we agree with the necessity of these actions to limit people's exposure to protect the most vulnerable in our society. We stand ready to support the State in whatever future actions prove to be necessary to overcome these challenging times.
'However, we do request as much clarity and flexibility as is possible from the State and its agencies in its dealings with the business communities, the majority of which are SMEs, over the weeks and months.
'Our businesses, which form our network, are deeply embedded in their communities across south Wicklow. As the number of cases of Covid-19 has increased, our network has felt its impact in the local economies they represent.
The spokesperson highlighted that many SMEs and the self-employed have had work cancelled while non-food retailers also experience difficult trading conditions.
The spokesperson added that 'extensive dialogue with our members' will continue, 'particularly in light of the speed at which circumstances, and the issues they raise, are developing on a daily basis.'
The Chamber called for steps to cut the number of viable businesses which may collapse due to short term cash flow issues including the deferral of VAT, PAYE and PRSI payments, prompt payment from all State Departments, local authorities and public bodies and clear communication from bodies such as the Local Enterprise Offices and INTREO.
The spokesperson said the local chamber urged the Government to 'support businesses to stay afloat during these unprecedented times.'