Last Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a statewide lockdown until at least the end of Wednesday, 17 February, as it aims to contain a recent COVID outbreak that began within its hotel quarantine system.
Much like the stage 4 restrictions last year, restrictions in Victoria include a curfew from 8pm to 5am, with the only exceptions including work, medical care and caregiving.
Commenting on the snap lockdown, Ms Carnell said thousands of Victorian small businesses need to shut up shop for five days without any notice.
“Small businesses such as florists and restaurants currently have their storage rooms packed with supplies, ahead of what they thought would be one of their busiest trading days of the year,” she said.
As a result, Ms Carnell said the Victorian government needs to immediately announce a compensation package for affected small businesses which have lost stock such as flowers and food.
She said the compensation should also cover all other costs associated with running a business including staff wages and rent.
“It is impossible for small businesses to plan for sudden lockdowns and the timing of this one — coinciding with Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year celebrations — could not be worse,” Ms Carnell said.
“Victorian restaurant owners are understandably frustrated, given this lockdown announcement came just hours after their additional supplies were delivered. Many were fully booked all weekend.
“These small businesses are set to lose thousands of dollars worth of stock through no fault of their own. Given the nightmarish 12 months these cash-strapped small businesses have already been through, there’s a real risk this lockdown could break them.
“It’s absolutely critical these small businesses have the support and certainty they need from the Victorian government to get through this.”