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Hospitality industry welcomes extended COVID support

The extended support for businesses and staff impacted by the current NSW lockdown has been widely welcomed by industry associations.

The Federal and NSW Government yesterday announced a combined extension to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment fund to help businesses and staff in NSW impacted by the latest pandemic closures.

The Australian Hotels Association NSW welcomed the package, with CEO John Whelan saying the range of lockdown support measures including increased staff support and business grants would help struggling hoteliers.

“This second shutdown has been devastating for our staff and hoteliers,” Whelan said.

“The support is desperately needed and is welcomed.

“NSW hotels have operated at a maximum of 50 per cent capacity for the past 16 months and the latest lockdown has hit particularly hard. More than 50,000 Greater Sydney- based hotel staff are now out of work.

“The pubs might be closed but the bills keep coming in. This support will allow us to keep our head above water during this difficult time so we’re able to open our doors when the lockdown ends.

“It’s pleasing to see the Disaster Payment extended into regional NSW where businesses are dealing with their own tough set of restrictions.

“Government at all levels have listened to us and our staff and have acted quickly.”

Yesterday’s announcement was also welcomed by the Independent Bars Association, with President Karl Schlothauer telling The Shout: “Overall it addresses the major concerns of many of our members.

“It gives us the tools to negotiate now with our landlords, increased support to help cover losses experienced in first few weeks of lock down, increased support for our staff and that this support will be on going as long as lockdown is needed. But like all things the devil will be in detail.”

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) also welcomed the package, describing it as a critical lifeline for hospitality businesses impacted by the lockdown.

R&CA CEO Wes Lambert said: “These changes directly respond to R&CA’s ‘Three-Point Plan’ that we submitted to the NSW Government last week and earlier requests to the Federal Government. We are delighted that the NSW Government listened to the common-sense proposals of businesses groups like R&CA and have taken our suggestions directly on board.

“We identified increasing existing business support grants, significant rental relief payments, payroll waivers and further cash-flow support as sensible and immediate action that could be taken to help hospitality businesses across the state.

“There is still a long way to go before we can foreseeably end this lockdown; that is why these payments and support measures will be vital to get as many businesses as possible to the other side.”

By Andy Young

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