More jobs are on the line in Dubbo and the Orana region because of COVID-19 restrictions, particularly in the hard-hit retail and accommodation industries.
Interim results of a new survey revealed 344 businesses, 120 of them in Dubbo, would further reduce staff numbers if the restrictions were still in place by May 1.
The survey has also confirmed a devastating drop in their revenue.
It has been developed by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana which wants 500 respondents including another 80 from Dubbo.
"The respondents were mainly small and medium-sized businesses, employing between zero and 38 employees before March 10, 2020." RDA Orana's director of regional development Megan Dixon said.
"The businesses reported having stood down an average of 37 per cent of their employees since March 10 and were expecting to stand down an average of 50 per cent of their employees if the restrictions remain in place after May 1, 2020.
"This is particularly true for retail and accommodation sectors that have been forced to shut down as a result of COVID-19.
"A majority of the respondents reported experiencing a decline in revenues as a result of COVID-19, with businesses reporting an expected 48 per cent average loss during this period."
The interim results also identified hurdles for businesses in getting back on their feet.
"Access to finance for recovery is a huge issue," Mrs Dixon said.
"There's also a little bit of uncertainly how the JobKeeper payment works for them and how it applies, and there's a lot of uncertainty around the state government programs as well."
Launched on April 5, the survey has attracted respondents from a "good spread of industries"
"The majority of respondents have been in the accommodation and retail sectors, with the biggest response coming from the larger centres of Dubbo and Mudgee," Mrs Dixon said.
"Tourism has been dealt a major blow, with more than 20 per cent of respondents operating a business in this industry.
"Almost half of the respondents have been already impacted by drought."
RDA Orana will use the survey to provide "crisis updates" to relevant government departments and support businesses.
The survey is at www.surveymonkey.com/r/C19-Impacts-CommitteeTest .
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