NEW research has shown that more than half of small businesses owners across the South East are concerned they will struggle to "bounce back" from the impact of Coronavirus.

As non-essential shops begin to reopen their doors, a survey conducted by Visa shows that 56 per cent of small business owners in the region fear for the future and feel they may not recover from the financial loss caused by the lockdown.

Consumers are also having similar worries, with two thirds (66 per cent) surveyed in Southampton worried about small businesses reopening.

Just under half of shoppers in the city (49 per cent) admit they will only return to stores if strict social distancing is in place, while over one in ten (15 per cent) will not return until a vaccine is developed.

To help small business owners adapt to the new landscape, Visa has launched a number of initiatives with its partners, including working with platforms like Deliveroo and eBay, to help local shops build an online presence; and partnering with providers to enable sellers to accept digital payments on and offline.

Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK and Ireland at Visa said: “Even in the face of extraordinary challenges, British businesses are gearing up for recovery by finding new ways to serve their consumers. However, we know that many lack the time and resource to rebuild at this critical time so Visa is enlisting the help of its partners to offer small firms the tools, advice and expertise so they can adapt their business ready for a new normal. We’re also calling on consumers to shop local. By supporting small businesses- both on and offline - all of us can do our bit to help our communities recover and get back to their best.”

The survey also revealed three key trends in consumer and small business behaviour that will define community recovery across the UK, which include adapting to changing needs, balancing in store and online shopping, and consumer commitment to supporting local businesses.

As part of its ongoing commitment to support small businesses, Visa has launched a new campaign to help independent businesses adapt for a post Covid-19 environment.

This includes offers and packages that enable small businesses to build an online store front, initiatives to make sure sellers accept digital payments, and encouraging consumers to shop local.