The Central Balance Sheet Data Office Quarterly Survey (CBQ) data for 2020 H1 show that the lockdown measures introduced in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis had a sharp adverse impact on activity, albeit with notable differences across the sample firms. This led to a sharp contraction in ordinary profit and profitability levels, resulting in a net loss in aggregate terms, something not seen in the CBQ since 2002. In addition, firms increased their indebtedness to fund larger operating deficits. The share of ordinary profit (Gross Operating Profit plus financial revenue) used for interest payments also rose slightly, reversing the downward trend of this ratio in recent years. The article includes a box that analyses firms’ liquidity needs in 2020 H1 as a result of the fall in activity, investment in real assets and debt repayments, and the financial deterioration recorded by these firms.