Major groups in sectors such as tourism, transport, retail commerce and infrastructure management are facing crucial decisions even though they do not have the necessary figures and information yet. Restarting in recessionary conditions, and mainly under the unprecedented health regulations, is an equation with too many unknown factors.
Without knowing the extent of the slump in demand to come, it is impossible for reliable business plans to be drafted for the short or medium term. Social distancing and other precautionary health measures may entail particularly high costs that cannot be calculated at the moment, as the relevant protocols are still under formation.
Other unknown factors at the moment are the extent of state support and the incentives for restarting an economic activity.
Consequently a considerable number of large enterprises, accounting for hundreds of thousands of workers, are questioning the financial benefits of resuming operation. Many believe that reopening, at least for the first few months, will result in heavy losses, while prospects over the medium term do not appear much better.
Retail commerce, tourism and transport enterprises that requested to remain unnamed told Kathimerini that they prefer to restart their activity only once a reliable treatment to the coronavirus or a vaccine is available, even if that means having to wait until next year.
Others believe that the restart must take place immediately so that the recovery of the ground lost is done as soon as possible. Businesses on this side of the argument, however, are asking for massive subsidies for employment and extensive tax reductions.
It also remains unknown how consumers will react to the new operation regulations for many sectors, while the extent of the damage to their disposable income remains to be confirmed too. Restaurants, hotels and shopping centers are the center of this uncertainty, which combined with the as yet undetermined level of state support, are creating a lot of unknowns. Government announcements of support packages in the coming weeks should shed some light on the landscape entrepreneurs will be asked to operate in.