The January lockdown cost Brisbane pubs and accommodation operators $100 million in lost revenue and the larger business community are concerned the hit will be even bigger this time.
An influx of visitors spending millions of dollars had been expected to boost Queensland tourism during the Easter long weekend, which coincides with the start of school holidays, but that has been thrown into doubt by Brisbane’s growing COVID-19 cluster.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced the three-day greater Brisbane lockdown as a “protective measure” to avoid a longer shutdown.
There were four new locally acquired cases, taking the cluster to seven.Residents of Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and the Redlands are confined to their homes, with limited exceptions, until tomorrow afternoon and everyone else in the state must wear a mask.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the lockdown was the “the most cruel blow imaginable” that would put jobs at risk.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland executive Amanda Rohan has called for the state government to consider extending Good Friday, reports say.
Big retailers such as supermarkets and hardware stores are not permitted to trade on Good Friday, while some smaller businesses can but must pay penalty rates to staff.
Ms Rohan told Nine Newspapers she supported the government’s three-day lockdown decision and hoped it would be a circuit-breaker for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But from a business perspective we know that businesses will be impacted not only from the loss of trade, but also from the stock losses they have already purchased to last them over the three days leading into Easter,” Ms Rohan said.
“It really does hit with businesses costs and now with JobKeeper ended yesterday there is no safety net for businesses, or their staff.”
So far, seven cases have been identified in Queensland’s latest outbreak but authorities are still trying to nail down the exact chain of transmission.