Share of businesses operating during COVID-19 crisis in Australia 2020 by industry

As governments around the world implemented social isolation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, Australia had just weathered its worst bushfire season in living memory. Many businesses had already suffered losses due to the fires, however the tourism and accommodation industries in New South Wales and Victoria were among the hardest hit. Yet the coronavirus would prove even more devastating to tourism as well as the arts, entertainment and retail industries.

Impact on the economy

The 2019/2020 summer bushfire season left a gap in the balance sheets of many Australian businesses. However, this was nothing compared to the impact social isolation and mass closures of public facilities, restaurants, and venues would have on the Australian economy. Over 65 percent of businesses reported a reduction in cash flow in March 2020 and almost 30 percent had their supply chains disrupted. On the other end of the spectrum some businesses recorded an increase in demand for their services, particularly in the area of online sales, homewares and food delivery.


In an effort to maintain jobs, the Australian government introduced the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which was paid to businesses who maintained their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. Surprisingly, it was not the arts, retail or hospitality industries that dominated applications for the subsidy scheme, but rather the construction industry. Despite government help hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost or stood down during the coronavirus crisis.

For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Fact and Figures page.

Share of businesses operating during the COVID-19 crisis in Australia in March 2020, by industry

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

March 30 to April 3, 2020

Number of respondents

3,000 respondents

Method of interview

Telephone interview

Supplementary notes

Data represents the proportion of businesses operating in the week commencing 30 March, 2020.

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Statistics on "Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia"

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