Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) today wrote to Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino, demanding a new support scheme to assist struggling hospitality businesses who are waking up to their fourth lockdown in 14 months.
R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said that the lockdown announcement yesterday represented a crushing blow to the thousands of restaurants, cafes and caterers who continue to bear the brunt of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions.
“This spectre of continual disruption for the next 7 days of lockdown and beyond as restrictions are likely to remain in place, is a source of grave concern and anxiety for the wider accommodation and food services sector. Grants of just a few thousand dollars just won’t cut it this time, not with Federal JobKeeper gone and Tenant Protections having just expired”, Mr Lambert said.
“That is why R&CA wrote to the Victorian Government to put in the strongest possible terms, that a new scheme be created called VicHospoSaver, which would assist businesses within the Accommodation and Food Services Sector in Victoria in weathering the damaging effects of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions.”
“This cycle of lockdown, restrictions and border closures cannot continue. The wider Accommodation and Food Services Industry across Victoria has irrefutably been one of the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
“With 14,609 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses across Victoria, employing more than 180,000 people, R&CA expects this program to carry a total cost of $90 million per week of lockdown to the Victorian Government.”
“Restaurants, cafes and caterers have continued to suffer, and this latest lockdown put Victorian businesses further behind their counterparts in every other state and territory across the country.”
“Whilst all of these actions follow the best health advice available, they unfortunately leave thousands of businesses facing sustained losses and with the threat of eventual closure. Put simply, now is the time to save our Victorian hospitality sector,” Mr Lambert said.