Shepparton News

Locals welcome support, seek more

- By Monique Preston

Shepparton hospitalit­y businesses have welcomed newly announced government grants to help them during lockdown, but say that they will not cover all their costs from shutting down yet again.

Bill and Beats owner Chris Buzza was pleased to hear of the $10,000 a week grant for venues with a capacity between 100 and 499 patrons, but said it “hardly scratches the surface” for his business.

“It will help. But it’s not enough to help me keep all my staff on,” he said.

“I will have to put some people off or stand them down (if the lockdown goes too long).”

One of the biggest problems with the regional Victoria snap lockdown that was announced on Friday is that it was announced only two hours before starting, Mr Buzza said.

“Why couldn’t they announce it Friday night?” he said.

Mr Buzza said he had two functions booked for Saturday night that had to be cancelled.

He had ordered in extra stock to cater for them and his team had prepped the food before the lockdown was announced.

Now he is doing takeaways trying to get rid of as much as possible.

However, he estimates the business will lose between $1500 and $2000 just in food from that function that will now have to be thrown out.

At The Milkbar Shepparton, owner Sam McKenna thinks his business will be eligible for a $5000 a week grant. “It’s certainly welcomed. It helps. But in the grand scheme of things it will not keep us viable forever,” he said.

He said the money would go towards some of the fixed costs, such as wages, but would not cover them all.

“We would like to be in the situation where we can stand on our own two feet without government help,” he said.

Mr McKenna said his business made a decision on Friday night that it would not open for dine in on Saturday – only takeaway – a decision that turned out to be a good one with the snap lockdown starting at 1 pm.

While still open for takeaway – albeit at reduced hours – Mr McKenna said business had reduced a lot, especially given the number of positive COVID-19 cases that are being discovered in Shepparton.

“There are not many people around,” he said.

Hospitalit­y worker Tim Guppy, who works at the Brewery, said the government help for staff who had lost hours was welcome.

“It’s absolutely a huge help. I haven’t got any other means of income,” he said.

“Without it, things would be pretty lean.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia