Push for Good Friday trading in radical plan to save Easter
Queensland's peak business body has called on the Palaszczuk Government to allow Good Friday trading this Easter to help make up for massive lockdown losses.
The January lockdown cost Brisbane pubs and major accommodation houses alone an estimated $100m and businesses fear the financial pain will be just as bad - if not worse - this time.
Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive Amanda Rohan said many businesses were already at "tipping point" with the end of the JobKeeper scheme, and the lockdown could send them over the edge.
She said businesses such as restaurants and cafes had ordered food and beverages and rostered staff in anticipation of a good Easter, only to be hit by the lockdown.
"It's meant to be a short, sharp lockdown but that doesn't mean it won't hurt," she said.
The QCCI was pushing for "quick action" to help businesses survive, including disaster recovery-style payments and possible Good Friday trading.
"Businesses are very nervous, with the lockdown hitting consumer confidence even outside Greater Brisbane," she said.
"Businesses need all the help they can get to reopen as soon as possible after the lockdown, and quick assistance to enable them to cover their losses."
Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan said the three-day lockdown in January had cost Brisbane venues alone $100 million, with Gold and Sunshine Coast establishments also "bashed".
"Lockdowns just knock the confidence out of the market and we will see another flood of (accommodation) cancellations," he said.
Clubs Queensland boss Kelly Egan said community clubs were facing similar six-figure losses to the ones they suffered in the last lockdown.
He said even after the January lockdown ended, trade was 30 per cent down for the next week.
Restaurateurs said the lockdown was a "heartbreaking, crushing blow" to the hospitality sector across southeast Queensland on the heels of JobKeeper ending.
"With school holidays and Easter just days away, the lockdown could be the final blow for many businesses who have spent more than 12 months struggling to survive," Restaurant and Catering Association CEO Wes Lambert said.
''However, this lockdown is different. There is no JobKeeper safety net for these businesses, and little to no support will be forthcoming until after the lockdown is over.
"This means more staff stood down, up to $50 million in lost revenue and nearly $15 million in produce and stock thrown away, with more debt piling up.
''R&CA has been warning governments across the country that as long as lockdown remains an active policy response, business support needs to continue."
Mr Lambert said Brisbane's lockdown should accelerate any plans for stimulus and support from the Queensland and federal governments.
'With one of the busiest tourism periods upon us, this announcement means one thing for thousands of restaurants and cafes across Queensland: chaos," he said.
Originally published as Push for Good Friday trading in radical plan to save Easter