Business NSW calls for support as pandemic bites

Staff shortages and customer falls causing severe problems in recovery

Business NSW calls for support as pandemic bites


By Mike Wood

One of the peak bodies for small businesses in New South Wales has called for the state government to return support to SMEs as they face the ongoing Omicron crisis.

SMEs, especially those in hospitality that rely on seasonal income, are currently being battered by staff shortages caused by employees who either have Covid or are forced to isolate as close contacts.

“It’s been a really challenging Christmas and New Year period for businesses of all sizes across industries as they battled with staff becoming infected and isolating, and a lack of consumer confidence,” said chief executive Daniel Hunter.

“It was an imperfect storm as customers voted with their feet and stayed away from venues that would normally be thriving during Summer, and those that did attend were met with venues that were severely understaffed.

“Business NSW has been working closely with Government on measures that can provide some swift and short-term support for businesses, at a time when they need it most,”

“These relief packages proposed include:

  • Allowing all close contact employees to return to the workplace on the presentation of a negative RAT, reducing the need for mandated periods of isolation;
  • An extension of the SME Summer Stock Guarantee to allow impacted businesses to apply to the guarantee if their business has been closed due to a case on their premises leading to majority staff stand-down for more than 3 days and/or to abide by close contact instructions from NSW Health;
  • An extension of the commercial rent relief for commercial tenants who have and likely will have closed or ceased trade between 15 December and 14 January due to current COVID trade impacts;
  • and the Reinstatement of the Hardship Review Panel to assess business impacts into 2022.”

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