Small businesses in Queensland are demanding the state government offer them financial support, after most of the state was thrown into a three-day COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday evening.
Under the restrictions, thousands of non-essential businesses have been forced to close while restaurants and cafes can open for takeaway services. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has urged the state government to give businesses grants of up to $25,000 to cover loss of stock and trade.
Amanda Rohan, policy and advocacy general manager at CCIQ, said Queensland businesses deserve similar support to those in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
“The New South Wales Government yesterday committed support payments for businesses but to date the Queensland government has not committed any support,” Rohan said.
Since the lockdown began, Rohan has been in discussions with Minister for Small Business Di Farmer about the need for a COVID-19 recovery package.
Rohan says the COVID-19 Hotspot Recovery package would keep businesses open, maintain jobs, and support hotspot declared areas to return to business as usual after the lockdowns.
“There also needs to be a focus on cushioning the potential economic impact of a hotspot from affecting broader regional and state wide supply chains, which the proposed recovery package can achieve,” she said.
A survey of Queensland businesses conducted by CCIQ this week showed 96% agreed support was needed to recover from this lockdown.
The current coronavirus lockdown is the third for Queensland businesses, and the second without a support package in place since JobKeeper ended.
On Tuesday, Queensland Health recorded two new cases of locally acquired COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours to 8pm.
Thursday 1 July – coronavirus cases in Queensland:
Two new locally acquired cases.
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 1, 2021
Annastacia Palaszczuk said the case numbers were “very encouraging” but did not confirm whether the restrictions would ease from Friday evening.
The Queensland state government has also tightened QR code check in rules for businesses and venues.
The Check In Qld app will be mandatory for a number of new sectors from Friday July 9, including for beauty and personal care services, gyms, accommodation and entertainment venues.