Devastated small business owners say Sydney’s lockdown has turned the city into ‘Chernobyl’ and left them on the brink of ruins – as it’s revealed the restrictions are costing $1billion a week
- Families and businesses fed up and frustrated by the latest Sydney lockdowns
- NSW Premier has extended lockdown another week until at least July 16
- Health officials concerned about growing spike in cases in Sydney’s south-west
- Residents in Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown asked to stay home
- Premier has proposed further restrictions of movements in those regions
Lockdown life for millions of Australians could go from bad to worse amid fears tougher restrictions on their movements could be enforced, despite having already driven businesses to their knees.
Sydneysiders will wait at least another week for freedom after lockdown was extended until July 16, as New South Wales battles to control a rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak of the highly infectious Indian Delta strain.
Cases are expected to soar in the coming days as the virus spreads across Sydney’s south-west, where residents in the local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown have been ordered to not leave home unless necessary.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian proposed harsher restrictions in those regions if the outbreak continues to worsen.
The extension of lockdown of Sydney and surrounding regions, which is costing businesses an estimated $1billion a week, has sparked anger from furious small traders who told Daily Mail Australia they are fearing for their livelihoods – with Canberra ruling out any financial assistance.
Ravaged small businesses and frustrated families are begging for an end to Sydney lockdowns that are destroying their lives, with one warning ‘it’s like Chernobyl out there’.
Residents in the Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs have been ordered to not leave home unless it’s necessary (pictured, a Sydneysider stocking up on fresh produce in Bankstown on Wednesday)
Lockdown has been extended after NSW recoded 27 new cases on Wednesday (pictured, a woman jogging at The Rocks in Sydney’s CBD)
Should Gladys Berejiklian have placed Sydney under a tougher lockdown at the start of the outbreak?
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Thousands of Sydneysiders were ordered to isolate and get tested after 18 new exposure sites were announced late Wednesday night, with a Commonwealth Bank ATM in Burwood flagged as an exposure and infection site.
Residents in the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown regions have been urged not to visit loved ones, avoid unnecessary contact with other households, limit movements in indoor public setting and nominate one person per household to go shopping for essentials.
An Aldi supermarket, car yard, Woolworths, Coles and medical centre were among the 18 new exposure sites across Sydney announced by NSW Health late Wednesday night.
Half of the new sites are in the three local government areas in Sydney’s south-west, where residents have been ordered to stay at home due to a rapid rise in cases, with 21 new infections in just two days.
An urgent alert has been issued for anyone who attended the ATMs at the Commonwealth Bank Burwood branch on June 28 between 6.50pm and 7.10pm and July 2 between 5.30pm and 5.50pm.
Anyone at the ATMs at the listed times is regarded as a close contact and has been ordered to get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
Ms Berejiklian warned police operations in those regions will be ramped up and has proposed tougher restrictions on residents’ movements if cases continue to soar.
This could point at a return to the 5km travel limit, or a ‘ring of steel’ like seen in Melbourne’s fourth-month-long lockdown.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) won’t rule out restricting the movements on residents in Sydney’s south-west if cases continue to soar
The once bustling Rocks area of Sydney, popular with international and domestic tourists alike, has become a ghost town (pictured on Wednesday)
Nine of 27 new cases recorded in NSW on Wednesday came from a mystery source.
Ms Berejiklian’s stance has divided senior members of her own ministerial cabinet.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet opposed lockdown being extended into next week due to the devastating impact on businesses struggling to survive.
He’s expected to expand the state’s financial rescue package and extend eligibility for payments to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $75,000, The Australian reported.
Some MPs in regional areas with no cases from the latest outbreak have pleaded with Ms Berejiklian to rethink the current lockdown settings.
Sydney’s streets will remain deserted for at least another nine days. Pictured is Milsons Point
SYDNEY EXPOSURE SITES ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Anyone who attended the following venues at the listed time is regarded a close contact. They must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
Myhealth Burwood, July 6, 11.45am-1pm
Aldi Canterbury, June 28, 12pm-1.50pm
Commonwealth Bank ATMs Burwood, June 28, 6.50pm-7.10pm and July 2, 5.30pm-5.50pm
Billy’s Cars Revesby, July 2, 9am-5pm and July 3, 9am-5pm
MeatFish Burwood, July 3, 12.15pm-12.55pm
Anyone who visited the following sites at the specific times listed is regarded a casual contact. They must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
Coles Maroubra, July 2, 1.15pm-2pm
Freshworld Fruit Market Maroubra, July 5, 1.15pm-2.15pm
Charing Cross Pizza Waverley, June 28, 4pm-10pm and June 30, 4pm-9pm
Little General Espresso Bar Riverwood, July 1, 8am-8.30am
Woolworths Bonnyrigg, July 2, 3pm-5pm
Aldi Maroubra, July 3, 11.15am-12pm
Evergreen Fresh World, Burwood, July 3, 12.25pm-1pm
Shell Coles Express, Pagewood, July 3, 9.55am-10am
Woolworths Revesby, July 3, 10am-12pm
Bakers Delight Revesby, July 3, 12pm-1pm
Cha Point Revesby, July 3, 12pm-1pm
Metro Petroleum, Condell Park, July 5, 11.30am-11.35am
Sydney’s abandoned CBD resembles a ghost town, and previously bustling hot spots like the historic Rocks area – adjacent to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge – are now silent and empty.
Business owners are desperate for a way out and a return to normality before the damage becomes permanent.
And for families, the thought of a prolonged extension to the lockdown is chilling.
It’s not just businesses that have been angered by the lockdowns given there has not been a single Covid death in New South Wales this year.
Parents too have to juggle working from home with home-schooling their kids after the government ruled children should not attend school unless absolutely unavoidable.
‘People trying to work from home and juggle home schooling – that’s hard,’ said Paddington mum Paula Vass, 40, as she exercised with daughter Charlotte, eight, and husband Andrew, 41, in Rushcutters Bay on the harbour’s shoreline.
‘It’s not easy.’
Ravaged small businesses and frustrated families are begging for an end to Sydney lockdowns that are destroying lives – and cafe owner Ron Danieli (pictured) warned: ‘It’s like Chernobyl out there’
Lawyer Yujin Chung, 43, mother of two children aged six and three, added: ‘People are getting sick of this.
‘I have to do my work, supervise online learning and look after my little one at home without any help.
‘No childcare, home learning and no family help – it’s going to be really difficult.’
Café owner Ron Danieli, 49, already fears things have gone too far, saying: ‘I don’t think we will ever recover from this. It’s killing small business and the middle class.
‘There is no one here – there are no tourists and no one coming into the city to work. It’s like Chernobyl out there.’
Paddington mum Paula Vass with daughter Charlotte and husband Andrew (pictured left) admitted trying to work from home and juggle home schooling was hard. Family jewellers Natasha Ree , daughter Laila and father Jason (pictured above right) have made just four sales this year but can’t afford to shut in case they lose their specialised staff
He has already closed two of his three cafes in the wake of the pandemic and now works alone at his remaining outlet in The Rocks.
‘It will take us a year to get back up again,’ he said. ‘We tried to keep our staff here, we tried to do all things right.
‘But who wants to go back into a job when you keep getting closed down? They’re going to find another job in another industry, not in hospitality.’
The Cafe Danieli owner says he’s watched on as shops around him close and the owners just walk away, unable to keep things going in the current crisis.
‘We lost 30 percent of shops in the first lockdown and we’re seeing another 30 per cent go in this one. Suddenly we have 60 per cent fewer businesses,’ he said.
He’s infuriated by big firms such as Harvey Norman holding onto $22million in JobKeeper payments, despite record profits, while small businesses go bust.
Cafe owner Ron Danieli, 49, (pictured) already fears things have gone too far. He has already closed two of his three cafes in the wake of the pandemic and now works alone at his remaining outlet in The Rocks
‘The ones in the middle don’t have the cash flow, don’t have the help, they don’t have the staff,’ he said. ‘There’s no plan to this, no consultation. We need solutions.
‘They need to target the aid they give.’
The toll goes beyond financial woes though, he said.
He added: ‘It takes a toll on your mental health. I keep asking myself, “what did I do wrong?” It’s a daily worry. How are you going to provide?
‘You were a very successful business person and suddenly everything was taken away without you doing anything wrong.
‘Everyone says they are okay but deep inside they are crying at night when they sleep.
Previously bustling hot spots like the historic Rocks area – overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge – are now silent and empty (pictured)
Louis Cardini (pictured) has never shut his bespoke leather goods store on George Street for a single day in 10 years, even staying open every Christmas Day – but is now only open to deal with his online sales
‘Everybody is worried about his work, about his family and about his future at the moment, everybody – except the government.’
Louis Cardini, 74, has never shut his bespoke leather goods store on George Street for a single day in 10 years, even staying open every Christmas Day.
But he says the only reason he’s open now is to handle any online sales.
‘It’s really a mess,’ he said on Wednesday as the lockdown extension was announced.
‘Business is killed.
‘People should go to work, they should go shopping – just respect the rules. Wear a mask, keep your distance, clean your hands.
‘We’ve got to work harder at this – the government doesn’t understand this.’
Since the pandemic began last year, jeweller Jason Ree (pictured) has only made 12 sales at their store
Jason Ree Jewellers (pictured) are only being kept afloat by online sales, and they only keep the shop open because it doubles as their workshop
Next door at a family jeweller’s business, Jason Ree, 49, and his wife Natasha, 40, have seen just four customers all year.
And since the pandemic began last year, they’ve only made 12 sales at their store.
They are only being kept afloat by online sales, and they only keep the shop open because it doubles as their workshop.
‘We’re at the absolute bottom level as it is,’ he added. ‘We’ve effectively been training for this for a month or so.’
They are also terrified of any more downturn in case they lose their specially skilled workforce.
‘We’re open six days a week, because we have people who are trained professionals, and if I say to them, you can’t come in, then they’re leaving,’ said Mr Ree.
‘You can’t afford to lose the staff who you’ve trained, because what we do is quite specialised. I can’t just go and get another jeweller to do what we do.’
Fourteen of Wednesday’s new cases had been infectious in the community, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to keep schools closed and restaurants and shops shut until Friday July 16
The delay in rolling out vaccinations and the block on international travel has been killing trade, say business owners in The Rocks (pictured above)
At the nearby La Renaissance patisserie, shop assistant Mimi Pery, 40, admits the uncertainty is leaving them on a knife edge of survival.
‘It’s an absolute ghost town,’ she said on Wednesday. ‘We’re lucky we’re getting the clientele we are but that’s only because we’re the only one open.
‘Normally the queue would be out the door.’
The lockdown has been brutally hard on the hospitality industry with hundreds of pubs and restaurants forced to shut their doors across the city.
At The Taphouse bar in the city’s nightlife hub around Surry Hills, owner Joshua Thorpe saw takings almost wiped out by the latest lockdown.
‘We pivoted to a takeaway service to ensure our staff were still working,’ he said. ‘Despite this, we’ve experienced a 96 per cent decline in revenue.
At the La Renaissance patisserie, shop assistant Mimi Pery (pictured) admits the uncertainty is leaving them on a knife edge, struggling to survive
‘We know what a hard time it is for our community and business owners forced into lockdown. We want our state government to do better and be better.’
Sydney residents who lose more than 20 hours of work a week can claim a one-off $500 disaster payment from the federal government, and those who lose less than 20 hours can claim $325.
The NSW government is offering a one-off $10,000 payment on July 19 for all firms with a turnover in excess of $75,000.
‘This raises the question of whether this is fair or reasonable?’ added Mr Thorpe.
‘With fixed overheads alone, we’re at over $15,000 losses per week.
‘I made the difficult decision earlier this year that if we did re-enter another lockdown, I would not step down any of my full-time staff.
Fourteen of Wednesday’s new cases had been infectious in the community, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to keep schools closed and restaurants and shops shut until Friday July 16. Seen here is a testing centre at Rushcutters Bay which was empty at lunchtime on Wednesday
At The Taphouse bar in the city’s nightlife hub around Surry Hills, owner Joshua Thorpe saw takings almost wiped out by the latest lockdown. Pictured here is pub general manager Phil Strudwick-Barker
‘I have eight full-time staff members who have mortgages, families to feed and rental payments to make, who simply cannot afford to be out of work, even if just for two weeks.
‘All we are asking is for the state government to hear us out and reconsider the allocation of support payments.’
Australian Hoteliers Association NSW chief executive John Whelan said one more lockdown could cause untold damage.
‘We simply can’t afford another Sydney CBD quarantine Covid breach – the economic and mental health costs of the ensuing lockdown are just too great,’ he said.
‘Our staff have rent and bills to pay. Many are not eligible for government support and a third week with no work really hits hard.
South Coogee restauranteur Gary Di Paolo believes Sydneysiders are taking this lockdown far less seriously than they did in 2020. Seen here is a woman exercising in Rushcutters Bay on Wednesday
‘Today’s lockdown extension is particularly hard to take when we are seeing the world open up. We appear to be going backwards – with community vaccination still months away at best.’
In South Coogee, Bistro On The Greens restauranteur Gary Di Paolo, 55, says the current lockdown is harder to bear than the prolonged one last year.
‘It’s worse,’ he said. ‘Last year we had JobKeeper and a timeline. We knew we would be shutdown for a couple of months.
‘This time, with the lockdown extending ad hoc, we can’t make any plans. I have bookings for events of 50 people – but I don’t know what’s going to happen.
‘Will it be extended again? I had to throw away $1,000 worth of food last week. Do I order stock or not for next week?
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was facing its biggest test and urged residents to follow the rules and limit their movement as far as possible. Seen here are locals exercising in Rushcutters Bay on Wednesday
‘It’s not like home-cooking – I need to prepare… but we don’t know what’s going to happen.’
Mum Heidi Lynch, 36, was more confident that Sydney would ride out the current crisis while looking after her son Mo, five.
‘I’m a teacher so I’ll be teaching at the same time as he’s in kindy so it’s only four days. I don’t think it’s going to be a drama,’ she said.
‘It’s what we have to do right now and I think other families will probably have it harder. If it’s extended, we’ve done it before, we can do it again.
‘We all just need to get vaccinated so the horror ends. That’s what is so frustrating.’
SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 16
Those living in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong must abide by the following:
Masks are mandatory in all indoor settings outside the home, including offices
Weddings are banned and funerals are capped at 100 people – or 1 person per 4sqm – with masks required indoors
There is no curfew but a stay at home order applies, with only four reasons to leave your home
Schools are closed with at-home learning in place, but no child will be turned away if they need to attend in person
*The four reasons you can leave your home:
- Shopping for food or other essential goods and services
- Medical care or compassionate needs (including to get a COVID-19 vaccine)
- Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer
- Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home
The rest of NSW (including regional areas) is subject to the following restrictions:
- No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
- The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)
- Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn
When does the lockdown end?
- Stay at home orders apply to Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Friday, July 16 2021
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