The Professional Accounting Body has called for Australia’s federal, state and territory governments to work together to create a national response for businesses that are impacted by future snap lockdowns whenever a new outbreak of covid-19 occurs.
Keeping Australian citizens safe during the pandemic should be the government’s top priority and the quick action taken to contain outbreaks has been highly effective in reducing the number of cases. However, the Professional Accounting Body is concerned about the significant and unrecoverable loses which Australian businesses are experiencing as a result of snap lockdowns.
Last week Victoria exited a five-day lockdown. Over the past three months governments in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales have all introduced snap lockdowns to contain covid-19 outbreaks.
The Professional Accounting Body believes that the government needs to introduce some form of safety net to protect businesses and offer them more certainty. This is cruicial due to the fact that most snap lockdowns are introduced at such a short notice thus giving businesses very little time to prepare.
With JobKeeper ending in just over five weeks, The Professional Accounting Body argues that it is time for the government to develop a system where financial support can be rapidly deployed to businesses affected by snap lockdowns. It is recommended that support should be consistent across the states and territories, and be should scalable to the length of each lockdown.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise is encouraging the Victorian government to offer more support to businesses which have been affected by the recent lockdown which coincided with Valentine’s Day, The Australian Open and Lunar New Year. Valentine Day’s and Lunar New Year are up there with some of the busiest days of the year for florists and restaurants. Restaurant menu items and flowers that were destined to be sold unfortunately had to go to waste. The Australian Open continued to proceed without crowds for 5 days. The influx of people travelling to Melbourne to watch the Australian Open each year has a huge impact on driving sales in retail stores and cafes across Melbourne.
As a result of the snap lockdown an Italian restaurant in Melbourne’s inner suburbs can reveal that it lost somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000 dollars in turnover. Apart from not being able to have customers dine in their venue for five days, they also lost money on dairy products and seafood that had to be thrown out. The loss off stock has a flow on effect into the following week, as restaurants are no longer placing food orders to get new stock due to their businesses closure. However, when the restaurant re-opens they are likely to be low on stock and will have to wait for new food supplies to arrive. This means that the business may not have all the ingredients required to make all their menu items upon re-opening.
The Impact Snap Lockdowns Are Having on Gyms Across Australia
Gyms and fitness studios across Australia have been forced to adapt to a ‘new normal’ in a post-covid-19 world. In February gyms in Perth and Melbourne have both faced quick five-day lockdowns.
Fitness Studio chain Speedfit has 22 gyms across Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales. As a result of Melbourne’s snap lockdown, it is predicted that all three of Melbourne’s studios will be out of pocket by around $5000 each.
KX Pilates, another Melbourne based fitness studio had 1,500 classes cancelled in Victoria due to the snap lockdown. These cancellations accumulate to a total loss of 17,000 client visits. Despite the short-term loss, owners of fitness studios would prefer to close for a short 5-day period if it means that it is 100% safe to re-open once the five days are completed.
In response to the lockdown in March 2020, many gyms across Australia decided to introduce online fitness programs for their clients. These programs were originally only made available for existing members of the gym. However, over time many gyms expanded their reach by enabling these programs to also be accessed by individuals who hadn’t registered a membership with their gym. This innovative decision helped grow the gyms online presence thus giving their business exposure to a larger community. This resulted in more people purchasing a gym membership when covid restrictions were eased and gyms were able to re-open in real life. Even after gyms were physically re-opened online classes continued to be popular as gyms across the country had to abide by the 1 person per 4 square metre rule that was followed by cafes and other indoor venues across Australia.
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