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The New Dirty “O” Word Impacting Hospitality

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Just when hospitality venue owners were seeing light at the end of the Covid tunnel towards the end of 2021, last November through another curveball – the new Omicron strain. While high vaccination rates meant lockdowns and restrictions were a thing of the past, customer confidence has taken a battering. With surging case numbers and no formal lockdown from the government, customers are taking matters into their own hands and imposing restrictions on themselves by avoiding crowded places and unnecessary outings.

Hundreds of thousands of people are contracting Covid each week, and a similar number are isolating as close contacts. Unsurprisingly, consumer spending levels have plummeted, and hospitality businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

State governments reinstating restrictions combined with supply chain issues, staff shortages, hesitant customers, and non-existent government support has left many businesses at a loss. For a lot of hospo venues, this wave is worse without the ongoing government subsidies.

Spending in Sydney and Melbourne is at a record low, similar to levels seen at the height of the Delta lockdowns in both cities with a sharp decline in spending in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, with spending lower than 2021’s out-of-lockdown levels across all three states. With customer’s fearful and imposing restrictions on themselves until the Omicron wave subsides, coupled with a serious staff shortage, the pain of the ongoing impact of Covid continues in earnest.

The good news for NSW is the NSW government’s $1 billion support package announced last week has been hailed a lifeline for businesses hit by the Omicron outbreak. Announcing the package, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the government had the back of every business and worker in the state.

“No other jurisdiction, no other state to date has provided financial support except NSW because that is the NSW way,” Mr Perrottet told reporters.

The package includes a payment of up to $5000 per week, or 20 per cent of payroll, for businesses with a turnover between $75,000 and $50 million who suffered a 40 per cent downturn in January, and project to do the same in February.

While health experts are reassuring the Australian public that we are nearing the peak of Omicron, and cases should start to subside in the next few weeks, this doesn’t offer much comfort to hospitality businesses that have already suffered through 4-6 weeks of reduced revenue.

Ways to show your support and #supportyourlocal include ordering takeaway directly from the venue; leave a glowing google review, or share your content on socials tagging the venue. Impos are strong advocates for the hospitality industry having been a point of sale supplier for over 16 years, and now offer their new payments platform ImposPay. The team share daily content from their venues with the hashtag #supportyourlocal whether it be looking for staff, special events or offers.

Learn more about NSW Government Assistance