Renewed COVID restrictions hit home in the Hunter
Hunter hospitality and tourism businesses are feeling the impacts of the emerging COVID crisis stemming from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, according to the Hunter Business Chamber, which has urged businesses and the community to heed health advice to help contain the current outbreak.
Accommodation operators across the region reported a flurry of inquiries about cancellations or postponements over the weekend as uncertainty about the extent of the outbreak grew, with some operators saying up to 20 per cent of bookings had already been affected.
Similarly, some restaurants and hospitality venues were reporting cancellations of Christmas bookings, with many planned family gatherings curtailed by the restrictions and people again becoming wary of venturing out.
“The response from customers is understandable, and is the responsible choice if they are at risk of having been exposed to the virus, but it is highly frustrating for the visitor economy businesses that were banking on a busy Christmas holiday season to help them recoup some of their losses from earlier in the year,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“We were all hoping this Christmas be an opportunity for families and communities to come together and put the dramas of 2020 behind us.
“However, it is important at this time that businesses and the community take the necessary precautions to avoid another sustained period of restrictions, or worse, another widespread and prolonged lockdown.
“As disappointing as it is for businesses to have to accept cancellations and scale back their activity at this time, we need to do what we can to ensure the situation does not escalate.
“We all know now how virulent this virus is and we do not want to see a Melbourne-style lockdown in NSW.
“But businesses have had a tough year, so where it is safe to do so, and in accordance with health advice, we encourage people to continue supporting local businesses, especially those in the visitor economy.”