TTN 2 July 2020: Operators with a lot of floor space like Jordan Rowland of Roth’s Wine Bar in Mudgee NSW say they can survive after JobKeeper ends in September 2020, but he knows that most businesses with less floor space (needing more covers) can not survive ongoing social distancing.
The Tourism News is calling for Orange Zones to be enacted for the reinstatement of 924,600 tourism-employed Australians. Where no new Coronavirus cases have been recorded in over a month, restrictions can be walked back, one step at a time. Of course, populations should be regularly tested, especially in potential flare-up locations such as medical centres, and amongst hospitality staff.
Within an ‘Orange Zone’ system, venues that can sustain a limit of 50 – because their size allows profitability at that rate – could require staff to wear face masks, ventilate additionally wherever possible (including opening windows etc) and provide ritualistic policy and procedure (P&P) documents in according to guidelines so that e.g. no ignorance could be pleaded regarding a lack of soap in a bathroom.
Under the Orange Zone system, the JobKeeper payment could be halved to allow for continued disruption, but a cliff in September – on which the Australian domestic tourism industry is currently teetering due to uncertainty – can be avoided. The Orange Zone status of a region can be revoked in the instance of new found Coronavirus cases.
As an alternative property infrastructure stimulus, The Tourism News proposes that subsidised business loans, rate exemptions in tourism areas and tax breaks could be given to people willing to open a new profit-seeking tourism or hospitality venue of any kind in an Orange Zone, with further subsidy available for owner-operator licensees, ensuring long-term investment in under-utilised space, thereby negating the negative impact of negatively-geared landbanking that currently saps the life and job potential from regional towns.
A ‘Tourism JobMaker’ system could also subsidise the employment of would-be casual and part-time workers, from cleaners to management trainees, with an amount that more accurately reflects the cost of part-time tourism work, e.g. a few hundred dollars per week to cover peak times. Complementary TAFE short-courses could form part of the subsidy and act as an apprenticeship/ work scheme for regional youth and part-timers.
(Update 6/7/2020) In light of continued recent outbreaks, including reports of overcrowded nightclubs on the Gold Coast in July 2020, it is further proposed that businesses be re-opened in staggered categories, for example Orange-Zoned regions may have restaurants and cafes reopened at e.g. 80% capacity, whilst nightclubs are required to wait until a Green Zone is declared before reopening.
With some basic steps, the tourism industry is more than capable of rising out of the Coronavirus nightmare, with a new leg up instead of an ongoing crutch.
Veronica Hope MBA, Adv. Dip. Tourism
The Tourism News Editor