Published on : Thursday, January 6, 2022
The businesses across Australia grapple with COVID-19 closures as Omicron cases surge, taking out staff.
The Manager Peter Appleby said the pub’s festive season started well, but things quickly became difficult.
He said that the customer confidence prior to Christmas was fantastic, but with this latest outbreak of cases, it has crippled them. The pub’s management found out on Christmas Eve there had been a person with COVID at the venue the day before.
By Boxing Day, the severity of the outbreak was obvious.
He said that his staff started dropping like flies, just testing positive to COVID and by Wednesday we had to make the painful decision to close our doors because we had limited staff.
Most missed Christmas and New Year celebrations with their families. And for many, the journey back to work was longer than hoped for.
After the seven-day isolation they still can’t return to work because they are still sick.” It meant the pub had to keep its doors closed for eight days. But this time there was no government support. Mr Appleby said that the decision to close was made by us, not the government, and therefore zero support. He knows it is a story playing out at pubs, restaurants, and bars across multiple states.
Mr Appleby believes the hospitality industry needs rapid antigen tests to become more widely available, so businesses can keep their doors open.
If there was a plentiful supply of rapid testing and it was free of charge for those who want to use it, people would be more vigilant to test for symptoms prior to going out.
Like much of the country, Victoria is facing shortages of rapid tests and long delays to access PCR tests.
The state government has ordered more than 40 million rapid tests which are yet to arrive, while consumers are facing shortages of the tests available on the commercial market. At a national level, the federal government yesterday announced it would provide up to 10 free rapid tests for concession cardholders in the next three months.
It will also pay half the costs of free rapid tests provided to close contacts of those with COVID-19. But earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected calls for rapid tests to be more widely distributed for free.