Dorset Chamber has urged businesses to take action to prepare for the potential impact of the coronavirus.
It called for firms to consider contingency plans so they are ready for a wider outbreak or if the disease develops into a pandemic.
The Chamber, Dorset’s leading business support organisation, is also providing information and advice via its website, social media and newsletters to keep companies informed.
Chief executive Ian Girling said: “There is no doubt that Coronavirus is spreading quickly.
“We are beginning to see an impact on Dorset businesses. Given the emerging concerns, we’d advise businesses to start to consider any potential issues that may arise and implement any required action.
“Businesses may need to manage the potential economic effect of the disease, including shipping restrictions, increased freight costs, supply chain disruption, staff shortages and travel restrictions. “Businesses which may be potentially affected include those who rely on products from infected areas, have operations in such areas or have staff travelling overseas who may be subject to restrictions or quarantine.
“Other businesses may face longer-term cash-flow problems if trade is affected or logistical issues if a pandemic takes hold and is protracted. School closures would also have a detrimental impact on business.
“Businesses are urged to stay vigilant, be proactive with contingency planning and emergency response protocols, and keep up to date on the latest Government guidance.
“By taking a calm and measured, yet proactive, approach at this stage businesses in Dorset will be able to face any issues with their customary confidence and composure.
“The Chamber will continue to monitor the impact of the virus on business and ensure that Dorset firms are aware of official advice and guidance through our website and newsletters.”
Visit www.dorsetchamber.co.uk and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public.