Small businesses pay big price for pandemic protection measures in MENA

mena pandemic businesses protection smes
Middle East
  • Date: 15-May-2021
  • Source: Zawya
  • Sector: Economy
  • Country: Middle East
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Small businesses pay big price for pandemic protection measures in MENA

DUBAI: Staying in business through the COVID-19 pandemic has not been cheap for retailers, hoteliers or eateries — to name just a few types of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). All over the world, including the Arab region, SMEs have suffered the double whammy of lost custom combined with new expenditure on cleaning, testing, protective equipment and hand sanitizers. Companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on hygiene protocols in a desperate bid to keep their doors open. Contact-intensive sectors such as leisure, hospitality and tourism have suffered more than most. Airlines, spas, gyms and galleries have all been forced to limit footfall. Although the rollout of vaccines has raised hopes of a turnaround this year, with people itching to book summer getaways and nights out on the town after months stuck indoors, a mixture of new virus mutations and the uneven distribution of vaccines means the world is still a long way from returning to normal. According to an April report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which assessed the impact of the pandemic on SMEs over the past year, such firms have been hit far harder than their larger counterparts. “SMEs are overrepresented in

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