The Bournemouth Coastal BID is urging the authorities to make money available at once or businesses won’t survive.
Paul Clarke, its chairman, said the situation is impacting on all firms in the BID’s seven ‘villages’; Tuckton, Pokesdown, Southbourne, Boscombe, East Cliff & West Cliff, Seafront and Westbourne.
The businesses affected come from a number of sectors and include garages, pubs, hotels, restaurants, retailers and GPs’ surgeries.
Paul said: “This health crisis is fast becoming an economic crisis, affecting every business in Dorset.
“Whilst we are seeing a lot of our business adapt and change their offering to take into account the government’s advice on social distancing, it is clear that this is a potentially devastating scenario, and one that has blindsided everyone.
“Our priority must be to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus as much as possible whilst supporting our local economy so that when this eventually subsides – and it will – those businesses which are the backbone of our community will still exist.
“The Government has put together a package of financial support for businesses on a never-before-seen scale.
“Whilst these unprecedented steps are positive, our businesses are reporting that the money needs to be available now, and that loans will not necessarily solve the problem.
“We are lobbying our local MPs and working with industry bodies and experts such as the Association of Town Centre Management, British BIDS and our local Chambers of Trade and Commerce in a co-ordinated effort to bring these issues to the forefront of the decision-makers minds.
“We are expecting additional measures to be announced by the Chancellor.
“The Coastal BID will continue to support business in every way we can.
“We are liaising with BCP Council in relation to the implementation of the grant scheme and the business rates holidays announced by the Chancellor.
“We are also looking to influence future policies, and support to be provided by central government.
“The overriding message is clear, ‘we are in this together’ and a joint, co-ordinated approach is the best and most efficient way of navigating everyone through this difficult time.
“Please go to our website, www.coastalbid.co.uk where we will be posting regular updates and directing businesses to sources of support as and when they are made available.
“We will also be tweeting any relevant information which can be found by following @CoastalBID, and on our Facebook page.
“Finally, please stay safe and look after family, neighbours, friends and your local businesses.”