Businesses call for financial help for quarantined staff

Businesses from the south-east to as far north as Cairns and Mt Isa were impacted.

Businesses following the COVID vaccination mandates have suffered with abusive anti-vaxxers and struggled after JobKeeper and further financial payments were shut off by federal and state governments.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lambert said, without potential payments, already devastated businesses would be further crippled by continuing the requirement for workers and businesses to isolate after a positive case attends their venue.

“Any isolation or quarantine for hospitality staff of any duration, as we learn to live with COVID … will have a drastic impact on an industry already crippled by a critical workforce shortage,” Mr Lambert said.

“If we continue to isolate hospitality staff, who show no symptoms and have tested negative, then the state government will need to potentially provide both business support if a business must close due to staff shortage and to hospitality workers affected by isolation rules.”

The owner of popular Gold Coast restaurant and cafe The Grazing Plate, Paula Statham, said she had written to several politicians, but had heard nothing regarding support for businesses.

“We’ve already lost 20 per cent of our bottom line not being able to see our non-vaccinated people in our restaurants, so the costs are going up everywhere, from rent, to suppliers, staffing costs,” she said.

“If you’re holding a legitimate, bona fide business that’s registered for tax purposes and meeting its tax obligations, keeping people employed, keeping people off Centrelink payments, then why shouldn’t we be compensated?

“If we get shut down [due to a COVID positive case], that’s 100 per cent in seven days, my rent is $2500, my full-time staff I still have to pay for, and there’s no income.

“Where do we go from there?”

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland policy and advocacy general manager Amanda Rohan said while decreased quarantine times meant businesses could get impacted staff back to work doubly fast, mandates had impacted owners.

“We know these new mandates disproportionately impact small businesses and especially those in regional Queensland where vaccination rates are lower and the labour market is tighter,” she said.

Across Queensland on Tuesday, there were 4687 people subject to quarantine notices and 197 active COVID cases.

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