New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that more than 70% of responding SMEs reported a decrease in turnover in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

Almost a quarter of respondents saw turnover fall by more than half in the year and about 40% saw their turnover decrease by between 10% and 50%, the CSO said.

The CSO's Business Impact of Covid-19 on SMEs in 2020 research shows that more than half of responding businesses took steps to change their mode of operation due to the pandemic.

Of these, 14% developed an online presence.

The most common changes reported were developing an online presence, increasing operating hours and developing new products.

56% of SMES who took part in the CSO survey reported closing at some point during the pandemic last year.

43% of responding enterprises reported closing multiple times during the pandemic in 2020.

Multiple closures were most prevalent in the Services sector, the CSO noted.

Respondents in the Professional and IT sectors reported 79% of staff working either fully or partially remotely, compared to a figure of 46% reported by respondents across all sectors.

The Accommodation & Food Service Activities sector reported that 92% of staff were still working on-site, with just 8% fully or partially remote working.

The Wholesale & Retail Trade sector had 27% of staff working either fully or partially remotely and 74% not working remotely.

The CSO said its online survey was sent to a sample of 8,000 businesses and the information was collected in the first quarter of 2021.

The response rate to the survey was 24%.

The Wholesale & Retail Trade sector had 27% of staff working either fully or partially remotely and 74% not working remotely.

The CSO said its online survey was sent to a sample of 8,000 businesses and the information was collected in the first quarter of 2021.

The response rate to the survey was 24%.