WA COVID lockdown expected to deliver bigger hit for Perth businesses than last shutdown

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Businesses expect the cost of the current COVID-19 lockdown across the Perth and Peel regions will be more severe than the previous shutdown because it is occurring during a working week.

The last lockdown began at the start of the Anzac Day long weekend, when many businesses were closing anyway.

But this time they are feeling the full financial brunt across four working days, and in the lead-up to the busy July school holidays.

Hairdressers, beauticians, nail salons, gyms, yoga and pilates and dance studios, and entertainment venues have all been ordered shut.

Restaurants, bars and cafes can only provide takeaway service.

The lockdown is crushing one Perth CBD cafe operator, who preferred not to be named to avoid any further negativie repercussions for his business.

He has just stood down 24 employees and been forced to throw out $800 worth of stock.

“It’s the hardest it’s ever been in 10 years,” he said.

He said he was trying to find a way to keep key employees engaged and paid so they did not quit.

Last time cost businesses $170m

During the last lockdown, a snap survey of businesses by the state’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIWA) showed the average impact for a small business over seven days was around $8,000.

It estimated the impact for WA businesses at $170 million.

“For many businesses, the costs will be higher this time, with the lockdown falling across a working week rather than a public holiday,” CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey said.

“CCIWA is gathering feedback from WA businesses again, to understand the scope of the impacts for this latest lockdown.

“However, it’s clear the emotional and financial pressure builds each time.”

Premier Mark McGowan has promised a support package for businesses similar to the $2,000 grants offered to help cover costs last time.

But he indicated that may not be announced for several days, after the government decided whether or not the lockdown would continue beyond the end of Friday.

Mr McGowan said he was “encouraged” by the fact the one new case recorded yesterday was picked up by the testing regime and it appeared the man had not been contagious in the community.

Lockdown decision tomorrow

The 37-year-old man was the fourth confirmed case in the current outbreak.

He visited the Mobius Health and Performance Gym in the northern suburb of Joondalup on two separate days last week, when two other positive cases also went there.

He is believed to have had “significant” contact with both women at the gym, but it is not known on which day he contracted the virus.

He was tested on Sunday June 27 and returned a negative result. While in self-isolation he started to display symptoms and was retested, returning a positive result.

“It’s important to note that Case 1028 has been in quarantine and is not expected to have been infectious in the community,”  Mr McGowan said yesterday.

“This is encouraging news.”

The government is expected to decide tomorrow whether to extend the lockdown.

Mr McGowan said it would depend on testing numbers, any new positive cases and whether they were already isolating at the time.

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(Original ABC Article)