From midnight tonight, South Australia is set to enter into a lockdown of at least six days in an attempt to prevent the recent COVID clusters in the state from spreading into a true second wave.
Over that period, just one person per household will be allowed to leave the home each day, and only if they are masked and headed out for specific, approved purposes; exercise outside has also been banned.
Further, every non-essential business will close, including shopping malls, pubs, cafes and restaurants, even for takeaway. The construction industry, schools, the state’s three universities, and open inspections have all also been put on pause.
Oliver Wade, head of marketing and partnerships at small business lender OnDeck, acknowledged that it’s hard to gauge the full impact the lockdown will have on the state’s small businesses given the indeterminate length of the new restrictions; however, he noted that a forced closure of any length will undoubtedly prove challenging as it has come at a “critical time in the year” for SMEs.
“It is difficult to say what the lockdown will mean at this stage as an early resumption of trading conditions will hinge on the success of the 6-day test and the transitional 8-day period,” he explained.
“[But] the current lockdown has slashed the festive trading season by a fortnight, and even if businesses are able to return to normal from early December, they will only have three weeks remaining before the Christmas festivities are upon us.”
Wade expressed hope the many small businesses forced to shut up shop will be able to pivot towards online operations as they did during earlier lockdowns.
He also highlighted brokers’ critical role in supporting their SME clients in South Australia, now more than ever.
“Many SMEs will need additional cashflow finance to help them through lockdowns and to regroup ahead of the New Year,” Wade said.
“When cash is needed fast, a specialist SME online lender such as OnDeck can have funds available to an SME – with the support of their broker – in as fast as one business day. Moreover, our streamlined application processes helps to relieve the pressure on SME owners and brokers during an already stressful time."