Survey: Most Dubai SMBs Will Shutter By October

In what could be among the most devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 overseas, a survey revealed 75 percent of Dubai businesses said they expect to close within the next six months, CNBC reported.

“The impact of COVID-19 crisis on the world economy during 2020 is projected to be greater than the 2008-09 financial crisis,” the survey’s authors wrote.

The “Impact of COVID-19 on Dubai Business Community,” a poll by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce in the Persian Gulf coast city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), found more than 90 percent of the companies said they experienced a decrease in sales in the first quarter due to the pandemic. UAE’s population is nearly 10 million.

Nearly half the restaurants and hotels surveyed revealed they expect to close in the next month.

Especially hard hit have been small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), researchers found.

The poll, conducted in all major business sectors between April 16 and April 22 during the lockdown, surveyed 1,228 CEOs of the nation’s 245,000 companies. Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed were businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Researchers found 27 percent of CEOs said they expected to lose their businesses within the 30 days while 43 percent expect to shutter within six months.

Nearly half of the businesses surveyed said they were unprepared for a global disaster. But these owners said they took steps to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on employees and customers.

In March, the Crown Prince of Dubai on Thursday provided $70 billion in a stimulus package to help preserve the nation’s commerce, the Financial Times reported.

“Dubai Government continues to monitor and offer support where necessary to help all of Dubai’s business community during this time,” a Dubai Chamber spokesman said after the survey’s release.

The nation has been in lockdown for months.

“Full and partial city-lockdown measures are bringing demand in key markets to a standstill … The double-shock impact is pushing economic activity down to levels not seen even during the financial crisis,” the report said.

In the UAE, there have been 237 deaths and 26,898 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday (May 22), according to Johns Hopkins.