State government outlines $5000 business support program | The Examiner

news, local-news, business, support, tasmania, staff, shortage, Launceston, karen Burbury

Just one day after loosening COVID-19 close contact isolation requirements for a range of new sectors, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has unveiled a new support package for struggling businesses. The support arrives in the wake of widespread staffing issues across the hospitality industry, as close contact isolation requirements force venues across the state to scale down or close temporarily. Cataract on Paterson owner Karen Burbury was one of many business owners forced to pivot when staff became unable to work. READ MORE: Are our face masks up to scratch against Omicron’s rapid spread? “We had as many as 12 of our staff off at one time. Luckily we’ve cross-trained many of our staff so we were able to move people around,” she said. As a result, Ms Burbury began scaling back bookings to allow the venue to continue operating at a limited capacity. While staffing issues have been a concern, Ms Burbury also noted that patrons appear to be spending more per head, which has helped offset the financial impact of isolating staff. Under this new scheme – titled the COVID-19 Business Impact Support Program – businesses will be able to apply for between $1000 and $5000 in funding based on the size of the business. READ MORE: Close to 7500 active COVID-19 cases in Tasmania To access the support, businesses will need to prove that they have had a substantial impact on their revenue due either to staff shortages as a result of isolation measures or a drop in demand following the state’s borders reopening. The support only applies for businesses affected between December 15 last year and January 14. Up to $5000 more in support is also available for businesses “that have experienced an unavoidable loss of perishable goods”. Businesses will need to show an equivalent drop in revenue above 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, back when borders were closed and the state’s internal economy had remained buoyant. For at least the time being, support will only be available for drops in revenue between the aforementioned dates and will not extend past then. However, the premier didn’t rule out reviewing the support package as the weeks’ progress. READ MORE: O’Keefe’s Hotel sold to long-running Launceston business “I’m viewing this as tranche one. We’ll review this in February […] If we need to do more we will do more,” he said. That said, the Premier also noted that the government was not “in the business of keeping businesses profitable”. Further details on the plan will be available from Business Tasmania from Monday and applications for the support program will open for applications on Wednesday, January 19. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:



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