These are unprecedented times and the effects are being felt not only here on the Sunshine Coast, but across the nation and worldwide. On Monday, Australian pubs, licensed clubs, casinos, gyms, cinemas, indoor sports venues and churches were forced to close across Australia in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders agreed on Sunday night to a staged process starting with a shutdown of “principal places of social gathering”.
Restaurants and cafes are restricted to takeaway only.
Mr Morrison said the step had to be taken because Australians were not adequately sticking to rules around social distancing. It was reported that as of Sunday, virus cases were doubling every three days.
In addition, the federal government also announced a second round of stimulus measures worth $66 billion in hope of easing the country’s dive into recession.
AAP reports that the government will temporarily double the Jobseeker Payment – previously known as Newstart – and make it easier for casuals and sole traders to access it; give a second round of $750 cash payments to those who are eligible; and significantly expand the already announced cash flow injection into small businesses, which will now get at least $20,000 and up to $100,000 each.
With COVID-19 impacting all areas of our lives, and with strict government measures being put in place and reviewed daily, there is no time like the present to come together as a community.
The Sunshine Coast is a region heavily reliant on tourism and small business. And the message is clear – where possible, and when safe to do so, let’s shop and support our local businesses, even if it is online.
Sunshine Coast Business Council chair Sandy Zubrinich says many businesses would have to make tough decisions, but it’s vital to continue supporting them however we can.
“We are heavily dependent on tourism, hospitality and retail industries that have a large part-time and casual workforce, so it will be tough particularly on those businesses and workers.
“Many businesses are looking at ways to reduce staffing hours and adjust business models, with some already having to close due to recent government restrictions.
“There are measures in place from the federal government and state government to keep businesses afloat and I urge owners to seek these incentives out. The last thing we want to see is job losses, so the stimulus packages will hopefully ensure businesses can survive the interim.
“While we all need to be vigilant about our health and the health of others, it’s important to continue to support small business where possible and within the Queensland Health guidelines.”
Meanwhile, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said it’s vital for residents to remain united.
“The Sunshine Coast tourism industry – like the rest of the world – is facing one of its biggest challenges to date.
“We can’t hold back the tide, but we can do our best to mitigate the national and global impacts. There is no doubt that tourism businesses will be impacted, but our job is to reduce the downturn as much as we can and be fully prepared for the upturn, which will inevitably come.
“Visit Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council have been liaising directly with state counterparts to provide assistance to tourism businesses through concessions on costs.
“Both federal and state governments have outlined support packages, which have been passed on to our members, and we will continue to be in close contact with them to ensure they are aware of all support programs available.
“Now more than ever, it’s important we listen to and adhere to the latest health advice, remain united as ‘team Sunshine Coast’ and continue to support one another wherever possible in this time.”
Accommodation venues will feel the full impacts of the economic flow-on effects. In Mooloolaba, the popular Mantra hotel is doing everything it can to keep valued guests comfortable and safe.
“Given our obsession around customers, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and we are working to implement measures to minimise risk of transmission, focusing on trying to keep our hotels, employees, and guests in a safe, inclusive and healthy environment,” an Accor Pacific spokesperson says.
“We are doing everything we can to uphold our high standards to maintain a safe environment, with additional cleaning, disinfecting, and providing hand sanitisers to travellers coming through our hotels.”
As businesses mould to the changing times, Ms Zubrinich has this message: “This is a good time for businesses to be inventive in the way they deliver their services, and those that don’t start addressing these changes will struggle even more in the coming months.
“Each industry will face different challenges and it’s about being innovative and responding to market needs.”
Ms Zubrinich reiterated the importance of spending locally so small businesses could stay afloat and equally important, keep people employed.
Residents are encouraged to support local grocers, butchers, bakers and retail outlets, while following health guidelines. And, with many of these businesses coming up with alternative shopping methods, such as delivery and online options, even those in self-isolation can safely continue to shop.
“While everyone will be feeling the financial pressure, the only way the average person can stimulate the economy is through spending,” Ms Zubrinich says.
“So, while people might be wary about their expenditure, they can still be smart by shopping local when they can and investing back into the community, because spending is one of the key drivers to stimulating the economy. If the average person spends, then businesses can pay their staff and keep people employed.”
This week, in a bid to help out the dozens of Sunshine Coast restaurants and cafes that have been impacted by closures, we are sharing a list of just some of the venues offering takeaway and delivery options. Turn to page 24 for details.
Coronavirus COVID-19 what is it?
COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus that spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Most people will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness. Older people, and those with underlying medical issues, are more likely to develop serious illness.
what to do if you think you have covid-19
Stay at home. The Australian Department of Health advises people to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case, or have been overseas.Your doctor will advise if you need to be tested.
If you’re concerned, you can also phone the National Coronavirus Helpline, 131 450. If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical assistance.
The incubation period is the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from one to 14 days, most commonly around five days.
All content sourced from WHO
While social distancing is a vital component of overcoming the pandemic, there are still pleny of ways to enjoy life, while supporting our community, and following the rules.
- Support the local seafood industry and enjoy fish and chips with your loved ones.
- Pack a picnic and support the local farmers and your local green grocer. Remember to keep your distance and avoid large gatherings.
- Head out into nature and enjoy a day of walking, hiking or running and exploring.
- Get creative and involve the family in an arts and crafts day.
- Bake and enjoy time in the kitchen, while supporting local grocers.
- Take time out to meditate, enjoy yoga, or Pilates. Find an activity to take your mind of everything.
- Take some time out.Take the boat out, go kayaking or grab a rod and take the kids fishing. Support the locally-owned bait and tackle shops.
- Support the local libraries by enjoying their online services and abundance of ebooks and audiobooks.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group Mark Jamieson, says the region should remember to support local suppliers.
Support local business more than ever
Every dollar spent can make a difference
Our region has a great mass of agribusinesses, farmers and suppliers – take advantage of this
Drop into your local butcher, baker, fruit and veg store.
5 THINGS TO KNOW
- Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases.
- At home – avoid handshaking and kissing, practice good hygiene, regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces. If someone is sick, reduce the number of carers, keep the sick person’s room closed with a window open, wear surgical masks and protect vulnerable family members.
- In the workplace – stay home if you are sick, no handshaking, defer large meetings, have lunch at your desk or outside, rather than in the lunch room, open windows for more ventilation, work from home when possible, hold external meetings via video conferencing or phone call.
- In schools – if your child is sick, don’t send them to school, sanitise hands regularly, remind them of the importance of handwashing, encourage children to keep space between each other.
- In public – keep 1.5 metres between you and others, sanitise hands where possible especially when entering and leaving buildings, use Tap and Pay rather than handling money, try and travel at quieter times to avoid crowds.
Source: Australian Government Department of Health