Business owner fears he can't afford to pay staff in a coronavirus shutdown

2 March 2020, 11:54 | Updated: 2 March 2020, 12:08

A new week begins and coronavirus is still the topic on everyone's lips. In studio, James was taking calls on how people are, or are not prepared for the virus' spread in the UK.

In a rollover from an argument James proposed last week over how freelancers will survive in the event of self isolation becoming a need, James was joined by a business owner who told him of his concern for his cashflow and employees' pay in the event of a widespread national lockdown.

Gavin, the boss of 110 employees in Belfast, told James of the potential impact coronavirus will have on both his personal and business relationships.

"I've guys working for me for 20 plus years" Gavin stated. He shared his fears with James that if his stores were forced to close he would find it difficult to continue paying these people he's built his empire with.

The business owner told of his apprehension of how he can reveal the news to his friends and employees.

Business owners are concerned if mass shutdown is implemented to contain coronavirus
Business owners are concerned if mass shutdown is implemented to contain coronavirus. Picture: PA

"It's a harsh thing to say 'I can't afford to pay you'" Gavin said. James took his side and shared that although people need to be looked after when they're not able to go to work, he was sympathetic to Gavin whose survival depends on how his company performs daily.

"Your business depends upon traffic" James stressed. He subscribed to the stress Gavin is under and empathised with the dilemma he faces in the coming weeks, should the government impose a mass shutdown of amenities.

Gavin's attempts to play his company's operations by ear of late has put massive stress on him, mentioning that he's shared his concerns with his wife. "It's hard for people who are not in business to understand" he revealed.

James accepted that the point of view of Gavin is one he's not considered before and accepts that business owners have a lot of thinking to do in the coming weeks.