Australia Businesses count costs, fearing Victoria's snap lockdown will last longer than five days
Western Australia lockdown is OVER after finding zero Covid cases
Western Australia will end its five-day lockdown of the Perth, Peel and South West regions at 6pm on Friday after recording no new cases of Covid-19. The state recorded no locally-acquired cases and one from a returned traveler, who is in now in hotel quarantine. WA Premier Mark McGowan said he is 'so relieved we have got to this point' during a press conference on Friday afternoon. 'I can confirm we will exit lockdown at 6pm tonight. The only reason that could change was if local cases were recorded this afternoon,' he said.
Businesses in inner Melbourne say they are reeling after the loss of what was expected to be a bumper weekend's trade during Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and the Australian Open.
Instead, florists, retailers and hospitality businesses are tallying up their losses and throwing out stock.
Rose Gibaldi from cafe-restaurant Stuzzichino, in Carlton's normally busy Lygon Street, said after a quiet weekend there had only been a handful of customers during the morning.
Perth, Peel and South West emerge from COVID lockdown as restrictions lift across the state
Cafes, shops and fitness studios are back in action across the state's south-west as Western Australians return to the streets — albeit with masks on — after WA's snap COVID lockdown ended last night.The strict lockdown was imposed on over 80 per cent of the state's population last Sunday after a hotel quarantine security guard tested positive for the virulent UK strain of coronavirus.
She said the usual tradies, doctors, lawyers and students were nowhere to be seen.
"If you listen to it, it feels like we're in a forest, not in the city, because there's just nobody around," she said.
""Without the office traffic, how can we survive?"
Fears lockdown will last longer
Ms Gibaldi said she worried the current "circuit-breaker" lockdown would last longer than five days.
"The worst part for us is we don't believe it's a five-day lockdown, no chance," she told ABC News Breakfast.
"This is just going to go on and on, and we can't afford this.
"We're just hanging on by a thread."
Ms Gibaldi said if the lockdown continued beyond Wednesday, she was unsure how she would pay her staff and her rent.
Salvatore Cultrera from Café Notturno estimated he had lost $50,000 to $60,000 in turnover and stock due to the snap lockdown.
Borders across Australia close in the face of the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak. This is where you can travel
Victoria's lockdown to prevent a third wave of COVID-19 prompts states and territories across the country to impose border restrictions. This is the situation as it stands. I want to go to...News South WalesQueenslandVictoriaACTTasmaniaWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern Territory#NSWNew South WalesNSW requires anyone arriving in NSW from Victoria after midnight on Friday to remain in their home until Wednesday.For NSW border residents who travel into regional Victoria, the five-day stay-at-home order only applies to those who have visited Greater Melbourne after midnight on Friday.
He has had to throw out fresh fish and diary supplies.
Ordinarily he would spend Monday placing food orders, but not today.
"We'll be assessing the damage and assessing what we lost," he said.
He also said he feared the lockdown would continue beyond five days.
"That's our big concern, five days is tough, loss of turnover, telling all our staff to stay home, but if it does go longer, as we know, five days can turn into weeks and months," he said.
Florists suffer Valentine's Day losses
Stephanie Rondos from the small, family-run In Full Bloom florist in South Melbourne said she would be lucky to be able to break even on what should have been one of the busiest days of the year.
"Everything changed so quickly, we didn't expect it, so we had ordered as we would have for a normal Valentine's Day," she said.
"Being a small family business, we have struggled throughout this pandemic, like so many other small businesses, so today would have been one of those days that would have brought us back on top, but it hasn't been the case.
Compensate businesses hit by snap COVID lockdown, says Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
"It's heartbreaking," says a florist as Valentine's Day trade vanishes — and the state's peak business group agrees, calling for more help for businesses.From midnight Friday businesses deemed non-essential were forced to close and Victorians urged to stay home as the state grappled with an outbreak of the UK strain of the virus.
"We're just hoping everything is back to normal by Mother's Day."
Today Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too soon to say if Victoria would move out of stage 4 restrictions on Wednesday night, but he said the signs at this stage were that the state was "well placed" to do so.
However, he said: "I cannot definitively say where we're going to be at midnight Wednesday night."
Business uncertainty in 'vexatious pandemic'
Business leaders have complained that.
Melbourne's Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the community needed to stay focused and unified and do everything possible to ensure the five-day lockdown didn't last beyond midnight on Wednesday.
She said the past weekend of lost trade had been described to her by members of Melbourne's small business community as "heartbreaking", "disappointing", "frustrating", "a disaster" and "a catastrophe".
"All of those emotions are driving people and their decision-making. It's underpinning people's well-being," Ms Capp said.
Victorian coronavirus lockdown enters day three, as Melbourne exposure site list grows
As the Holiday Inn COVID-19 cluster climbs to 16, the focus is now on exposure sites in Melbourne's northern suburbs.The Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn hotel quarantine cluster grew to 16 yesterday, with two new locally acquired cases — a woman and a three-year-old child who attended a private function venue in Coburg in Melbourne's north on February 6.
She said as businesses headed towards the end of the quarter, when rents and other overheads became due, the business uncertainty during the "very vexatious pandemic" was difficult to manage.
"We're calling for all levels of government to outline a comprehensive support package that recognises the economic damage done from prioritising the health response," she said.
Mr Andrews said he had no announcements to make about support measures yet.
"Logic tells you that until you are clear how much support is needed, you can't make announcements about the details of that support package," he said.
But Rose Gibaldi said it was clear extra help for hospitality was needed, and called for international students to be able to return.
She said before this latest lockdown, traders had been getting back on their feet after Melbourne's devastating 111-day stage 4 lockdown last year.
However, she said in the immediate vicinity of her Lygon Street business, she had counted 45 shops for lease.
"Does that paint the picture for you? It doesn't get any clearer than that."
5 ways Biden just tweaked the PPP to help the smallest businesses survive .
Biden made changes to the Paycheck Protection Program on Monday to ensure equitable access to small business relief. The changes included a 2-week period for only businesses with under 20 employees to apply to the program. The SBA will also work to ensure access to those with student loan debt and/or unrelated prior felony charges. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. To help the smallest businesses in the country facing financial hardships, President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he will implement changes to provide more equitable access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).