small business | September 09, 2021

Regional restrictions cruel hospitality businesses

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy believes thousands of regional hospitality businesses will stay shut tomorrow and their staff will still be out of work as a result of the unworkable rules imposed by Daniel Andrews.

The Andrews Labor Government offered a small glimmer of hope for country businesses with the announcement yesterday it will ‘ease’ regional restrictions, only to slap them with capacity limits so low that it’s not viable to reopen.

Ms Kealy said many business owners had told her in the past 24 hours the ‘easing’ gave them no choice but to stay closed for the foreseeable future, with some venue operators describing the restriction changes as “mind-boggling” and “meaningless”.

Regional hospitality businesses can only open with 10 patrons inside and 20 seated outside – a fraction of the capacity of many venues.

“This is not a plan to reopen. It’s a cruel blow to regional hospitality businesses who hoped they would be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” Ms Kealy said.

“Allowing a maximum of up to 30 patrons is a fraction of the capacity of many venues that would normally seat hundreds of diners at any given time.

“Pubs, restaurants and cafes have detailed COVID Safe plans and practices in place to keep patrons and staff safe.

“The chopping and changing of restrictions are devastating to hospitality businesses already struggling to stay afloat.”

Many hospitality venues have already made the hard decision to cut back opening hours and staffing numbers.

 “A 30-person capacity is a kick in the guts to venues that have been operating at a fraction of their capacity for 18 months now,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s unworkable rules have delivered no hope and no plan for regional hospitality businesses.

“This is just another cruel blow to regional pubs and clubs by a Premier who doesn’t care about the damage his Labor Government’s iron-fisted approach is inflicting on regional Victoria.”


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