Continuous coverage: Melbourne restaurateurs question desperately needs an answer

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Melbourne restaurateurs are asking Prime Minister Daniel Andrews to get down to business and give them a specific date for the reopening.

After being on lockdown for so long, the hospitality industry needed at least a week’s notice to open safely and successfully, said Toorak restaurant owner Thierry Cornevin.

Not only do food supplies need to be ordered in advance and reservations made, restaurants need to be secured against COVID and staff trained in security measures, he said.

“To be well organized for a restaurant of our size, it’s a minimum of six working days, more than seven days – even that is good,” said Mr. Thierry, who runs the famous French restaurant Bistro Thierry.

Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Paul Guerra said the business group was pressuring the state government to fairly warn hospitality establishments in Melbourne when they could reopen, because they deserved certainty.

“The government told us that the next step, the third step, is expected to go into place on October 19, subject to trigger points and public health advice,” Guerra said. “(But) less than a day’s notice of confirmation, the next step takes effect – as we did this week when we entered the second step – is not enough.

media_cameraRestaurateur Thierry Cornevin of Bistro Thierry in Hawksburn wants a definitive reopening date Photo: David Crosling

“Victorian businesses need more time to plan to reopen and we want the government to provide more certainty as soon as possible that the next step is actually going to happen. Our restaurants, cafes, pubs and stores need to line up their staff and order inventory, and that takes more than a few hours. “

While the sites were tentatively working on a reopening date of October 19, most were reluctant to take reservations because they couldn’t be sure the bans would be lifted that day, Guerra said.

It was not just the restaurateurs, but the customers who wanted to know when the rooms would open and they could dine out again, after being confined to their homes.

“Victorians really can’t wait to share a meal in a restaurant setting with family and friends, and want to plan when they can finally make it a reality,” Guerra said.

Melbourne’s retail sector also needed certainty as to when it could reopen, so inventory can be ordered and supply chains prepared for Christmas trading, he said.

“The Victorians have embraced e-commerce, but most of us want to see what we buy when we do expensive shopping, which is what we usually do at Christmas,” said Guerra.

“Most of us delay making these big purchases until we come back to the stores.

“Shopping locally has never been more important; we need to support our victorian retailers and avoid sending our money overseas. “


The fight against small businesses should receive a digital support program of $ 6,000 in the budget to help with their post-pandemic recovery, the National Retail Association said.

To reflect the big shift towards digital shopping, the group wants a boost in e-commerce support to help industries that lack a strong online presence.

NRA chief Dominique Lamb said the pandemic had accelerated the move online.

Dean Elabbas, director of 24 Hour Melbourne Plumbers, said his business has flourished since going live. Image: Alex Coppel.
media_cameraDean Elabbas, director of 24 Hour Melbourne Plumbers, said his business has flourished since going live. Image: Alex Coppel.

“The NRA would like to see governments at all levels invest in improving the digital skills of small businesses,” said Ms Lamb. “Simple steps to achieve this include interest-free loans, tax write-offs or training funds.”

Sagar Sethi of digital agency Xugar said that even a loan of $ 6,000 would help businesses build an e-commerce platform, allowing them to pay back the money when revenues increased.

“It is better to support small businesses and the jobs they provide upstream, rather than allowing those businesses to go bankrupt and have them join the ranks of the unemployed,” Sethi said.

Plumber Dean Elabbas, director of 24 Hour Melbourne Plumbers, said his business has thrived since going live. In five years, it went from one employee to six employees.

“Having a strong online presence has made all the difference,” he said, adding that revenues had grown from $ 200,000 to $ 1 million in the past four years.

Mr Elabbas said he would depend on his online platform to recover from COVID-19.





Originally posted as Question Melbourne restaurateurs desperately need answers

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