WA businesses see glimmer of hope after weeks of darkness as WA flags economic revival

The coronavirus pandemic has hurt Australia’s entire economy but none more so than the industries that have been shut down entirely.

Come Sunday, the WA Government will deliver a roadmap for easing restrictions with businesses desperately hoping for clarity around when they will be allowed to reopen.

National Cabinet has mapped out a staged approach at easing restrictions with restaurants, cafes and stores the first to be allowed to open, followed by gyms, beauty parlours, cinemas, galleries and amusement parks.

Then nightclubs, food courts and saunas will be the final step.

But each state and territory will decide when those stages happen.

Jeanine Halley said her skin treatment clinic, The Skin Studio in East Perth, had been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19.

Ms Halley said she knew of many clinics that had already gone under.(ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)

“We are just surviving,” Ms Halley said, after closing her doors six weeks ago.

“Although, I know of many clinics that have already decided not to reopen.

“It is going to be devastating for our industry.”

Ms Halley said she was incredibly frustrated her business fell under the “beauty” category, and as such, was only allowed to open under step two.

She desperately hoped the State Government maps out a plan for her to be able to open her doors before her business can no longer survive.

Tourism businesses look for certainty

Local tourism operators have also taken a major hit.

Busselton Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve said 50 staff had been stood down and to date the jetty had lost about $750,000 in revenue.

Ms Shreeve leans on one of the railings on the jetty, smiling, ocean behind her.
Busselton Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve said the uncertainty had been most upsetting.(ABC News: Anthony Pancia)

Ms Shreeve is looking to the State Government’s roadmap to provide some sort of certainty in the testing times.

“The uncertainty is the thing that is upsetting most of us,” Ms Shreeve said.

“We understand (the roadmap) could change but if we understand what might be coming forward at least we can start to put plans in place to make sure we’re ready for when we’re able to reopen.”

Mount Hawthorn cafe and restaurant owner Mirko Silvestri had opened his doors only months before the pandemic hit.

Mr Silvestri continued takeaway service but closed his Lupo Lab restaurant, laid off staff and said the last couple of months had been “financially and emotionally” tough.

A bald man in mid-shot outside a cafe.
Mirko Silvestri, owner of Lupo Lab cafe and restaurant in Mt Hawthorn, says he does not want to rush to reopen if it risked the health of staff and patrons.(ABC News: Jacob Kagi)

While he is desperate to open his doors again, he also does not want the decision to be rushed, risking the safety of staff and patrons.

“I would love to be reopen even 40 per cent, 50 per cent, as long as we are going to be safe and there is no risk,” Mr Silvestri said.

“We don’t know what the response of the community will be … if they will still feel happy to come in the shop or sceptical or scared. It is something very hard to predict.”

Gyms devastated by shutdown

Fiona Stephens, who owns F45 Training gyms at several locations around Perth, agreed.

Her business has taken around a 70 per cent hit to its total revenue after gyms were forced to close.

Ms Stephens wants to be able to reopen her studios but understands the restrictions need to be lifted cautiously.

“It would be amazing to have the opportunity to reopen our in studio offering again,” Ms Stephens said.

“We have the same goals as everyone here in WA. We want us to all be safe, we want us to all be healthy so we’re just going to work with what the Government says is right.

“Fingers crossed it’s also the thing that will help our business out.”

On Friday, the Premier Mark McGowan said WA’s hard border closure may allow the State Government to loosen restrictions to a greater degree than some other states, namely Victoria and New South Wales.

“Clearly Western Australia has the opportunity to be more economically progressive, perhaps, than other states,” Mr McGowan said.

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