A slight easing of restrictions in Victoria on Sunday was cold comfort to the hospitality and accommodation sector in Victoria, according to the AHA.
The nation’s peak hospitality body said the continued delay in reopening the Victorian hospitality and accommodation sector is causing immense financial and mental stress for employers and employees.
AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson said, “The hospitality and accommodation sectors in every other Australian state and territory have reopened safely.
“Hotels across regional Victoria have not had any recorded COVID infections and the NSW and Victorian rolling seven day averages are both below ten cases.
“NSW venues are able to open with one patron per 4 square metres, up to a maximum of 300 people. I see no reason why Victoria should suffer further delay in reopening.”
Mr Ferguson said that of the more than 26,000 businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and food services sector employing over 200,000 people, all Victorian hotels have Covid Safe plans, including digital sign in, Covid safety marshals, all patrons must be seated and heightened cleaning to ensure staff and patrons stay safe.
The hospitality and accommodation sectors have borne the financial brunt and ongoing mental stress of this continued shutdown by the Victorian Government,” he said, “The financial and emotional pressure on our hoteliers is building each and every day, and I don’t know how much longer they can sustain it.”
For now, the hospitality sector can expect a further easing of restrictions on November 1. Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded that the date may be brought forward if the downward case trend continues.
The AHA’s position aligns with the views of the Federal Treasurer, Mr Josh Frydenberg, who said in a video posted to Twitter: “There’s been a callous indifference in Victoria from the government to the loss of jobs and to the plight of small business. The bloody-mindedness is unforgivable.”
Premier Dan Andrews responded during his daily press conference on Monday with: “It’s all about the politics with this bloke, isn’t it?
“That’s all he does. He is not a leader, he is just a Liberal. All he does is play politics, every day, and I just don’t think that is fair, and I think Victorians are sick of it. Victorians want their family protected, they wanted their health issues dealt with so we can open up. All he does is play politics in the midst of a global pandemic.”