Majority of Australian businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Canberra: Two-thirds of Australian businesses have lost money as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, official figures revealed on Tuesday.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the figures of its second survey on the economic impacts of the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

It found that 66 per cent of businesses said their turnover or cash flow has been reduced by the virus, which has forced widespread business closures across Australia.

Almost 40 per cent of businesses have changed how they deliver their products or services, including restaurants shifting to exclusively takeaway, in order to abide by strict physical distancing rules implemented by federal, state and territory governments.

About 47 per cent of businesses said they have made changes to their workforce because of COVID-19, including changing the location where staff worked, staff being placed on leave, or temporarily changing working hours.

Parliament will re-convene on Wednesday to vote on legislation for the government’s A$130 billion ($79 billion) wage subsidy package.

Under the scheme, full-time, part-time and casual employees who have had their work status affected by the virus will be eligible for a fortnightly payment of A$1,500.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on Tuesday announced that citizens who are working from home will be able to claim 80 cents for every hour worked from home as a tax deduction.