Australian Hospitality Operators lobby for support as staff shortages and mental health crises continue to rise

January 20, 2022

The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect hospitality operators Australia-wide in the opening of 2022. With business owners citing staff shortages and mental health as primary challenges, the probability that Australia’s peak summer season will once again be decimated seems high.

Melbourne’s Chapel Street Precinct, one of Australia’s largest shopping destinations for retail, hospitality, lifestyle, and entertainment, has called for further government and community support as staff and business owners continue to suffer. Chrissie Maus is General Manager of Chapel Street Precinct. She says, “we’re in a lockdown without a lockdown, and with no government cash flow support. We’ve never had a time where so many businesses have been unable to open or a closed given staff shortages… We’re in a far worse position now 22 months later than we have ever been.”

Maus continues, “We have a whole business community what is absolutely shattered. I have some of the strongest business owners calling me every day saying they might not get through. We have absolute scraps being sent to us (from the government). I truly believe on behalf of our businesses in Chapel Street, and certainly Melbourne-wide, that we need to be taking the mental health of our community as seriously as COVID right now, and remembering that these businesses now have debt piling up, they don’t have anything to look forward to, and really, the collective saying right now is: how long can this go on?”

For other businesses across Australia, the situation seems just as grim. Daniel Gschwind, Chief Executive of Queensland’s Tourism Industry Council, has shared his concern. “It’s very dramatic- staff shortages are really starting to bite now.” He explains that the spread of the Omicron variant has left the industry in short supply across all positions, including cooks, chefs, and hotel managers. “That has now led a number of operators to operate at reduced hours or just close completely, because they haven’t got enough staff. Getting a test is a challenged and getting the result is a further problem, because it’s not as if they arrive in 24 hours anymore- it takes days.”

If your business is currently being impact by COVID-19, you can visit to access information regarding grants, services, and support from the Australian government.

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