The closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants to have 'a devastating impact' on the hospitality industry

Pubs are ordered to shut. / AFP PHOTO / William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered a shut down of venues including pubs, clubs and casinos amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) told Business Insider Australia it has had a “devastating impact” on the hospitality industry.
  • The Director of Liquor and Policing at AHA NSW said a lot of staff have been stood down as a result.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The move to shut down pubs and clubs around Australia because of the coronavirus has shaken the hospitality industry.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a number of venues in the country – including pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and indoor sporting venues – will shut down from 12pm on Monday.

John Green, director of liquor and policing at the Australian Hotels Association NSW, told Business Insider Australia it has devastated hospitality businesses.

“It has had a devastating impact on a range of business types, from mum and dad hotels right through to multi-venue locations,” he said.

“A lot of the operators have made a very difficult decision today…of actually telling a lot of the staff that they have been stood down and that will be for the next six months.”

Green highlighted that some businesses won’t be able to make it after that six month period.

“A number of venues obviously will be able to survive but there will undoubtedly be venues that cannot sustain waiting until we get through this crisis and there will be doors shut,” he said.

While doors will remain closed, restaurants and cafes can still provide takeaway and delivery orders. It’s an option Green believes will help businesses stay alive.

“A large number of pubs around the state will continue to provide takeaway liquor, but also home delivery services as both food and liquor,” he said.

“Even though that’s probably less than 10% of their normal trade, that will give them some level of hope for being able to sustain their business. But it won’t help the many thousands of staff that have been let go.”

Government stimulus packages have been introduced but more can be done for hospitality workers

On Sunday, the federal government announced its second coronavirus stimulus package worth $66 billion. It included an effective doubling of income support for those on the JobSeeker payment and cash payments for small to medium businesses.

Green wants to see more done for hospitality workers.

“What we’ve seen is stimulus packages being released as various business types have been shut down,” Green said. “Now that the hospitality sector has been shut down, we would expect – and we would implore the government – to consider the many thousands of hospitality workers and provide further stimulus for them. Musicians, bar staff, casuals and the business operators as well.”

To support the pubs and clubs that have closed, Green said Aussies should order takeaway from them directly.

“Pubs are part of the Australian psyche,” he said. “And so it is important that pubs are assisted in surviving.

“Making sure [the public] buy a takeaway meal from their local pub [and] they buy their takeaway alcohol from their local business, rather than going to major corporations, is a way that we can actually make sure that pubs are there at the end of this crisis.”


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