For those of us old enough to remember one of the first non-alcoholic drinks was called Claytons. It was a very strange spirit style non-alcoholic beverage that intrigued me as a child. It’s advertising line was – ‘The drink you have when you’re not having a drink’. Feel familiar with what’s happening right now?
As Omicron creates new daily records across this nation and the world, my mind turns to the small businesses out there struggling to open their doors each and every day. In effect the rules around close contact isolation mean that a restaurant with one infected employee will close for the business for a week at least. Daily I’m seeing restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs closing their doors due to healthy staff numbers being so low that it’s unsustainable to operate. In other words a lockdown caused by circumstance rather than imposition.
This issue is growing out as well – have you tried to buy fruit and veggies at Coles or Woolies lately?
But my concern lies with the small businesses providing goods and services across the nation – a coffee, a sandwich, a beer, keeping ventilation going in a mine, providing a niche product to one of the major supermarkets etc.
In previous shutdowns imposed by State and Federal governments support has been provided by payments for the business to keep employees engaged and financial – to a degree. The problem this time is that the Lockdown is happenstance rather than government imposed. Government wax lyrical about living with COVID and keep moving through. It’s ideal for all governments – you can hear the politicians spinning – ‘we haven’t imposed the lockdown therefore this is not for our responsibility to pay’.
During the Delta Lockdown State government payments based on fortnightly wage bills for those affected were a great help. I believe these need to be reinstated immediately with the Federal Government assisting. Obviously the payment scheme for perishables is a help but not every business has these.
They need to hear that small businesses are unable to soldier on and need help NOW. For them this is the lockdown they are having to endure without any support from governments whatsoever – shame, shame, shame.