Beer toast

Expert analysts: why bars should reopen

May 14, 2020
By Alana House

Two Australian professors have weighed the economic cost of restrictions on licensed venues and concluded pubs and bars should reopen.

Jonathan Karnon, Professor of Health Economics, Flinders University, and Ben Mol, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University, have told The Conversation why they believe bars should reopen.

They say the government’s support to the hospitality industry is costing $1.7 billion per week, which would reduce to $1.1billion if bars and restaurants were open.

Given the low number of new cases of COVID-19, the professors have tested the assumption that there would be a one in 10 chance of a new outbreak if restrictions were lifted.

“We also assume that if there was a new outbreak, there would be a 95% chance it could be controlled by re-imposing restrictions on bars and restaurants and only a 5% chance it could not,” they said.

Their calculations suggest there would be an extra 4.8 deaths if bars and restaurants were open for business this week.

“Because the average age of people dying due to COVID-19 is around 80 years, and each might have around 10 more years to live, the number of life years per week that would be lost as a result of the $600 million per week the government saved would be 48,” they said.

“It suggests each life year saved as a result of keeping bars and restaurants closed costs around $12.5 million.”

They added that by keeping bars and restaurants closed the government is paying 250 times more than it would usually pay to gain a life year.

The professors concluded: “The government could save many more life years by spending the money in a different way.”

It’s a complex argument, click here to read the full article.

AHA counts the cost

Scott Leach, AHA NSW and National President, wrote an opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph discussing the toll the shutdown is having on struggling pubs and why bars should reopen.

“The costs of our venues keep mounting week after week, month after month – and I know all too well the pressure this is putting on individual hoteliers and their families around NSW,” he said.

“Not only have we had to put off much loved staff, many hoteliers are being pushed to the wall by the social and emotional costs of this pandemic.”

Leach said the typical country pub is losing up to $25-35,000 a month, with the cost for many of suburban and Sydney pubs being even higher.

“We need to open sooner rather than later – in a safe, thought out and structured way which follows Government advice – to avoid an even bigger debt cliff for many businesses and the end for others.”

NT pubs reopen

From midday on Friday, NT licensed venues are allowed to reopen.

The NT has not imposed a strict quota on how many people can be inside a pub or bar, but businesses need to submit a coronavirus safety plan to the NT Government.

Hotel Darwin

Hospitality NT figures show 1500 jobs will return once Stage 2 restrictions are eased.

“The Territory is the safest place in the country and this Friday we are getting back to business,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

“We had to ask a lot of businesses to shut down and now they’re getting ready to reopen. My challenge to all Territorians is to get out and support those local businesses.

“They need you to buy from them. Get a beer and a parmy, that’s the order.”

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