Call for support for cafés on their long road to recovery

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, is calling for additional support for café businesses, including possible compensation, as they face a long road to recovery from the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

The comments come in the wake of the latest Harris Cafe Report which revealed that 80 per cent of small-business owners in hospitality have said they won’t be able to recover from recent hardships without help.

“It’s incredibly tough to be in small business right now and particularly if you happen to own a café,” Carnell said. “More than 40 per cent of respondents to this survey said they don’t expect to be able to stay open for longer than six months without additional support and over half say they’ve lost 50 per cent or more of their revenue over the past few months. What it tells us is there will be a prolonged period before these small business owners are back on their feet.”

While JobKeeper has been effective in keeping many of these businesses afloat, the Ombudsman said that some additional targeted support will likely be required to help these cafés get back on track to recover.

“We know that outbreaks will happen during this pandemic and that will mean localised lockdowns. We’ve now seen that happen in parts of Victoria, with small businesses impacted. In cases like this, where cafes have been forced to throw out stock due to a sudden lockdown, compensation should be made available to them.

“Although we know that outbreaks will happen and that will impact small businesses in those areas, it is actually impossible for a café owner to plan for that,” Carnell said .”They will lose stock, and for small businesses that are already seriously cash-strapped, there’s a real risk an event like this could break them.

“Australia has a vibrant café culture and for that to continue, it’s critical these small businesses have the support they need to grow and thrive.”

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