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SME Competitiveness Outlook 2020

COVID-19: The Great Lockdown and its Impact on Small Business

image of SME Competitiveness Outlook 2020

This publication is released at a time where the world is carefully moving out of the 'great lockdown' stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, a partial or complete lockdown of the majority of economies across the globe for six weeks or longer. There are reasons to believe that this simultaneous shutdown of economic and social activities has succeeded in pre-empting what could have become a disastrous global health crisis. But the shutdown is likely to have major economic consequences that remain difficult to assess.

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Lockdown: The impact on small businesses

While the discussion on reducing the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic response often focuses on macroeconomics, a decades-old observation by renowned economist Paul Krugman comes to mind: ‘Countries do not buy or sell goods overseas; companies do.’34 The pandemic-induced slowdown first and foremost affects the real economy, made up of businesses and the people who work for them.

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