There were mixed reactions from Canberra companies in response to yesterday’s unveiling of the roadmap out of the lockdown.
- Many Canberra companies welcomed the roadmap outside of the lockdown
- But hospitality sites say capacity constraints will make it impossible to open
- Prime Minister Andrew Barr says the reopening plan should be gradual
Restrictions will begin easing this Friday before the lockdown is lifted on October 15 if the COVID situation in the capital does not worsen.
Niche Power Performance owner Beth Cornforth was “relieved” to be told she would be able to open her gym on October 15 with a capacity limit of 25 clients or one person per night. 4 square meters.
“Moving to an online platform was pretty hard and we only made just enough money during the lockdown to keep paying staff,” she said.
“We have really just been straight and we hope that when the support for business support comes through, we will be able to cover our rent and costs.
Sassy Hair CEO Rebecca Guymer said she needed to restructure her hairdressing business in response to ongoing restrictions.
Hairdressers, beauty salons and personal services will be able to open with a limit of five customers.
“I am overwhelmed because even though I feel an exhilaration that we finally have a path, we are still figuring out how that path will work.
“I think it’s going to be a matter of keeping your head above water, but only just.”
With three different salons operating under one ABN, Ms Guymer said she spent $ 20,000 on business support “in a matter of hours.”
H20 MEDI SPA owner Lauren Scifleet said she was “very surprised” and grateful that they would be able to reopen.
“Many of us thought we would only slowly start opening on November 1st and that would have been really hard for the industry.
“No one was waiting for yesterday’s announcement. We thought we never got out of it.”
Density limits will make opening doors ‘viable’
Anthony Brierley of the Australian Hotels Association’s ACT department said relaxed restrictions are “virtually meaningless” to many operators in the hospitality industry.
From October 15, licensed venues, cafes and restaurants can have up to 25 customers or one per. 4 square meters – whichever is smaller.
“It’s not viable to open with 25 people unless you’re a small cafe, so it’s really disappointing,” he said.
“The Doherty Institute model says the 2 square meter rule should apply when we move to medium-sized public health social measures.”
From 29 October, hospitality resorts will be able to operate with a maximum of 25 customers before the density limits apply – one per. 4 square meters or a maximum of 100 indoors and one per. Two square meters or a maximum of 150 people outdoors.
Up to 500 people will be allowed at ticketed and seated events.
Capacity limits ‘unfair’ for fitness companies
Canberra Martial Arts and Fitness owner Tom Adam said it was unfair that licensed venues were allowed up to 100 people from October 29th.
“And why can a seated place have 500 people, but we can only have 20 people dancing or practicing martial arts?
“For me, it’s about 20 percent capacity, but I still have all the costs.”
Adam, who is also president of the Phillip Business Community, called on the government to provide more financial aid.
“If we still have our capacity limited by as much as 80 percent by the end of November or the beginning of December, we need funding to continue to the fitness, martial arts and movement clubs.”
Prime Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT’s way forward had been informed by national and local models of the impact COVID-19 will have on case numbers and hospitalization.
He said the road would ensure that the territory takes gradual and safe steps towards a better Christmas and summer holiday period.
A further easing of restrictions will be considered when more than 90 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated.
This may include easing site density limits and increasing household and outdoor assembly sizes.