Lockdown lottery for businesses
It’s a lottery for businesses enduring the latest COVID lockdown.
Location, location, location means everything for some cafes and other enterprises that have carried on regardless of the restrictions.
For others, however, it’s has been hard going.
John-Paul Romano, an acolyte at St Christopher’s Manuka, is the proprietor of a café a short walk from the cathedral.
“Business has been difficult,” he said.
John Paul’s business interests also include a bar, which has had to close. He has had to cut shifts and put off staff, most of whom are university students.
“I assume they’re receiving support from the Federal Government. But as yet we haven’t received a cent from the ACT Government and that’s definitely impacting us substantially,” he said.
“We’ve applied for support but the process is onerous. It’s been 30 days since we applied and there’s not a cent in the bank.”
It’s been a similarly difficult year for Nathan Piper who launched his business this year as a tiler in the building industry.
The Marist College Canberra old boy had high hopes when he started but has come up against a COVID brick wall and paperwork complexities for securing income support.
While the commercial building sector has reopened, as a new participant in the field his business interests lay in residential building work.
He had potential jobs lined up but it came as a big blow when the Government said work could only take place on projects under way before the lockdown started.
“For a lot of guys I know it was a kick in the guts because we got our hopes up,” he said. “They gave us a bit of light and then they closed the blinds – unless for those fortunate enough to have jobs they hadn’t finished before the lockdown.”
For its part, the ACT Government today said it had paid out $50 million in business support grants to 3000 applicants out of a pool of 8000 hopefuls. It is a scheme jointly designed with the Federal Government.
That’s good for some, not so good for others who await the bureaucratic wheels as they turn at different speeds.