The managing director of British company O’Donovan Waste Disposal admits that “huge challenges” are ahead for small business owners and SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) in the wake of Coronavirus – and urged UK companies to take full advantage of any financial support available during the crisis.

Jacqueline web

Managing director Jacqueline O’Donovan said the company had maintained a full workforce by following social distancing rules

Jacqueline O’Donovan said the London-based business, which employs 185 people and has a turnover of £21 million (US$29 million), would “give as much stability as we can” to staff and their families, but acknowledged there are “key questions” facing small business owners.

“After just starting to emerge from three years of uncertainty due to Brexit, we find ourselves in further unchartered waters in terms of what we are facing and there is no way to tell what lies ahead. We have been promised huge support from the [United Kingdom] government and even more has been announced since the recent budget,” Jacqueline added.

“All small or medium businesses should make the most of what is available from the government including tax deferrals and claiming back SSP (statutory sick pay) if staff are having to take time off due to Coronavirus. Banks have made noises already that they are there to support and this help should also be taken full advantage of.

“Being a supplier to the construction and demolition industry, we feel it is imperative that we take all the necessary precautions with our staff, in our offices, depots and on the road. To date we have maintained a full workforce following simple human distancing rules, using sanitisers and washing hands and improved general hygiene.

“If individual companies take all the necessary precautions and implement effective business continuity plans, the hope is that business and in particular the construction sector can get through these challenging times and be in a position to bounce back swiftly once the storm passes.”

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