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The short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Portuguese companies

Publication Year 
JEL Code 
D22 - Firm Behavior; Empirical Analysis
E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary containment measures have caused a very severe shock on Portuguese businesses. This article uses the results of the Fast and Exceptional Enterprise Survey – COVID-19 (COVID-IREE) to characterise the short-term economic impact of the pandemic, in a context in which several support measures have been adopted by public authorities. The main results show a very significant decline in companies’ activity in the second quarter of 2020, with very adverse effects on their liquidity. Accommodation and food services stands out as the most affected sector. In this period, the impact on employment was relatively contained. However, there were marked declines in effectively working staff, albeit partially offset by remote work and alternate presence schemes in companies’ facilities. Finally, the survey reveals that companies in more fragile conditions were the ones that resorted the most to the support policy measures and that these measures played a very important role in safeguarding companies’ financial sustainability and preserving employment.
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