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Businesses Brace For Snap Lockdown In Queensland, Australia

As Queensland enters its first lockdown since March, small business owners have been left to ponder their losses.

BRISBANE, Australia — Queensland small businesses are still waiting for a pledge of direct compensation after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s lockdown announcement, as the opposition ramps up its push for support packages.

Local government areas of southeast Queensland, Townsville City and Palm Island enter their first of a three-day snap lockdown on June 30, as the state braces for new coronavirus cases.

On June 29, it emerged a 19-year-old receptionist at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane who traveled to the state’s north and was infectious in the community for 10 days before being tested.

She was found to have the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19.

Map of Queensland Australia

While millions of Queenslanders are plunged into another lockdown, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has called for a comprehensive business support package for small and family businesses.

Crisafulli says there is a critical need for such a package as school holiday plans come to an abrupt halt.

“People are crying out for certainty and the absence of it means decisions that have to be made in real-time,” Crisafulli said. “So whether or not that’s an amount to cover perishables, whether that’s a safety net for their staff, whether or not it’s the assurance that if you are one of those venues who are impacted, the deep cleaning cost and the ability to mobilize it will be assisted by the government.”

Crisafulli tweeted “Businesses are prepared to accept the health advice for the greater good but when a decision is taken beyond their control, they need to know they don’t have to carry the full burden all on their own.   The big thing for small businesses is confidence. Let’s give them that.”

Crisafulli cited a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) report that found the previous snap lockdown cost businesses up to AU$600 million ($45.02 million).

A survey earlier this year found medium-sized business lost up to AU$65,000 ($48,766.90) in three days, with smaller businesses on average losing between AU$12,000 ($9,003.12) to AU$58,000 ($43,515.08).

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has called for a comprehensive business support package for small and family businesses. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

In a statement on June 29, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for payments of up to AU$25,000 ($18,756.50) to affected businesses to cover loss of stock and trade.

Meanwhile, event organizers in the state’s southeast have been forced into last-minute cancellations.

The Gold Coast marathon on July 3-4 will not take place for its second consecutive year and the Scenic Rim’s Winter Harvest Festival has also been canceled.

Questions are also being asked about the Wallabies’ opening test match against France in Brisbane scheduled for July 7, after it was moved from the Sydney Cricket Ground in light of New South Wales’s recent Covid cluster.

Queensland health authorities have said that the future measures will be shaped by testing results in the coming days.

(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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