Denmark’s lockdown cost 16% of economic production: ministry

Denmark's lockdown cost 16% of economic production: ministry
A scrawled message to customers on the window of a closed shop in Østerbro, Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
The measures taken by Denmark to slow the spread of coronavirus have contributed to a 16% slump in economic production in recent weeks, according to an analysis prepared by Denmark's finance ministry.
The analysis, which is intended to help Denmark's political parties in negotiations over the next stage of economic reopening, showed that the ban on eating in restaurants and bars had single the heaviest impact, followed by border controls and the closure of shopping malls. 
 
“With the analysis that we have today sent to the Parliament, we have a clearer picture of how severe the crisis is and where it has hit hardest,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said in a press release.
 
According to the analysis of the measures still in place, the ban on customers sitting down in restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars nightclubs, and discos had had the single biggest impact, cutting 1.9 percent from production, and affecting 36,400 jobs. 
 
Here's a graph showing the rise in employees laid off or furloughed in the restaurant industry, compared to in Denmark's economy as a whole. 
 
Source: Finance Ministry
 
This was followed by temporary border controls, new travel guidance, and changed travel patterns, which together cut 1.7 percent. 
 
The closure of shopping centres and the tighter restrictions on shops that remain open has been responsible for 1.2 percent fall. 
 
“The closure of malls has been estimated to affect about 25 percent of total retail production during the period in which the measure lasts,” according to the analysis. “This corresponds to approximately 60,000 employees being affected.” 
 
Although some of the sales have moved to online retail, this requires fewer employees, the authors pointed out. 
 
The opposition Liberal Party has been pressing for restaurants and shopping centres to be prioritised in the next phase of Denmark's reopening, arguing that they contribute the most to jobs. 
 
The closure of indoor sports and culture facilities was responsible for another 1.2 percent drop in production. 
 
In its analysis, the ministry noted that many of the same industry segments had been hard hit in Sweden, leading to heavy job losses, despite the country's decision to allow restaurants and cafés to remain open with only light restrictions. 
 
“The analysis shows that it is difficult to separate the effect of the measures taken against the disease and the fact that the Danes have simply changed behaviour and become more reluctant in their consumption,” Wammen said in the statement.
 

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