Industry bodies call for government support as restrictions are extended

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A decision this week by the New South Wales government to extend current COVID-19 restrictions for another month has frustrated many business owners in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Leading industry bodies Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association say government support is essential as many accommodation hotels struggle to stay open.

“It will be another difficult month with the recommendation for people to work from home, no dancing or singing, no nightclubs and the 2 square meter rule for indoors,” said Michael Johnson, chief executive. from Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).

“This will ensure Sydney remains very quiet for another month, with hotels already operating at less than 30 per cent occupancy and hemorrhaging cash every week.”

A Tourism Accommodation Australia poll, carried out last week, found that 82% of NSW members have been forced to limit their services, including capping occupancy and closing bars and restaurants.

Just under 80% of businesses faced chronic labor shortages and 69.7% reported extremely low occupancy rates at 39%.

Accommodation Association CEO Richard Munro said that while the industry understands that tough decisions have to be made in a crisis, they come at a cost.

“We understand the decision, but these decisions have consequences,” he said. “An impact on consumer sentiment is a direct impact on our members’ businesses and there is literally little to no support.”

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