Coronavirus update for business: Australia on lockdown, making lemonade, and calls for reduced rent

coronavirus update for business

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: AAP/Lukas Coch.

Lockdown

All foreigner travellers will be barred from entering Australia from 9pm AEDT tonight, as Scott Morrison replaces the China, Iran, Italy and South Korea travel bans with a global ban on all non-residents and non-citizens.

Australians will still be able to return from overseas but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The ban will undoubtedly put additional pressure on the already strained tourism industry.

The news, which follows similar measures from New Zealand and even Tasmania yesterday, means anyone with a student or working holiday visa currently out of the country will be unable to enter Australia for the foreseeable future.

Visa holders already in Australia can remain, however.

According to The Guardian the ban creates new limbos for two million temporary visa holders.

When life gives you lemons

Lemonade Stand, an online entrepreneurship platform for children and teenagers that encourages problem-solving, is being offered free to COVID-19-affected students.

Founded by Collective Campus head Steve Glaveski, in partnership with Melbourne-based Ivanhoe Grammar, the program was conceived to help children best prepare for an increasingly uncertain and volatile century.

“Given the uncertain times we’re finding ourselves in, and given that an unprecedented number of students have been sent home, we’re offering access to our platform for 30 days for free,” Glaveski said.

The platform guides students to identify problems worth solving, develop solutions, identify and build prototypes, market and test their ideas, and finally, pitch what they’ve learned.

It also supports collaboration, and at some point, Glaveski said, capital raising for students who want to take their ideas further.

“Forty to sixty per cent of today’s jobs won’t exist in 10 to 15 years,” Glaveski said.

“And today’s teenagers are expected to have up to fifteen jobs and several careers over their lifetime.”

CSPA takes a stand

The Chapel Street Precinct Association, Australia’s largest retail association, is calling on state and federal governments to swiftly announce and roll out small business support, and for landlords to suspend or heavily reduce rents.

“We are pleading to the Australian Government for help and urging all landlords to suspend rents immediately until this crisis is behind us,” CSPA chairperson Justin O’Donnell said on Wednesday.

“Our retailers, restaurants and bars are coming up with genius ways to weather the storm, but many venues today have had to shut the doors.

“Some businesses won’t be able to make a cent given the new tough isolation restrictions.

“This is a-one-in-a hundred-year event and much empathy for small business is needed right now.”

CSPA is also calling on the public to support local businesses, suggesting they purchase gift cards to give local vendors some income in the short term.

Hot desks

Finally, Officeworks has reportedly seen a spike in demand for home-office supplies as more and more employers are encouraging their staff to work from home.

The most in-demand products are monitors, home printers, computer accessories and standing desks. But, shoppers are also turning to Officeworks as an unexpected source for in-demand items, such as hand sanitiser.

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