Wage subsidy extension welcomed by hospitality industry

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

Hospitality missed out on targeted funding for the sector, but the Wage Subsidy Scheme has been extended by a further eight weeks and from June 10, eligible businesses will receive this.

The Government also wants to rapidly retain hospitality workers for primary sector jobs to get people in working or training. 

CEO for the Restaurant Association, Marisa Bidois says, "We think that's really important for businesses and it is welcomed relief for our industry."

"Some of our teams have been made redundant, so this financial injection for jobs & training, hopefully, will be an opportunity for us to re-skill some of our workforce and hopefully retain them in the hospitality industry as well."

Marisa hoped that the Government's 2020 Budget would offer small businesses a capital grant injection of $25,000 per business, as a means to survive past the Wage Subsidy's end in September, but still is pleased with the subsidy's extension.

With the closure of international markets, for now, the domestic market must pick up and succeed. Marisa says, "At this stage, we do think that movement through the domestic market will certainly help many of our businesses across the country, but it still awaits to be seen if it will be enough."

As hospitality businesses open once again under Level 2, new changes and processes are implemented to ensure social distancing for customers.

"With physical distancing, many businesses are trading at a reduced capacity because we can't have as many customers in the premise, so we're hoping that our businesses will continue to be busy, but we'll wait and see.

"Reopening at Level 2 was certainly exciting for the industry. Many were really pleased to be welcoming customers back into their businesses. But as mentioned before, there's a lot to get your head around as a business owner in terms of the regulations. Making sure your tables are a metre apart, ensuring contact tracing for every customer coming through the door & getting their personal details."