A survey by Western Australia’s (WA) peak industry body, Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA), has revealed that lockdowns in parts of the state have clobbered businesses, with the industry facing an estimated $245 million (US$186 million) in losses and forcing almost one in ten businesses in the affected areas to go under.
The survey of 458 stakeholders from the WA business community found 9 percent were forced to shut down completely, while a further 22 percent said it would only take one or two more lockdowns before they too were forced to close their doors.
Businesses also reported that, on average, the four-day lockdown cost them close to $27,000 (US$20,200), tallying up to almost a quarter of a million dollars across the state. For small businesses, the average cost was $16,000 (US$12,000).
“For WA’s small businesses, lockdowns mean losing the income their families rely on,” CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey said.
Of the sectors, 100 percent of fitness and leisure centres were impacted, along with food, accommodation, real estate, wholesale trade, hairdressing, and retail sectors, all experiencing between 75 and 85 percent of their businesses affected.
However, despite the severe economic battering, 68 percent of businesses said they supported the snap lockdown.
The news of the economic suffering comes after the WA McGowan government choose to place Perth and Peel into a four-day lockdown after two cases of the highly transmissible Delta strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, emerged in Perth.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the movement freeze was necessary to stop the spread of the Delta strain.
“Escalating to an immediate lockdown will help us break the circuit, and give contact tracers an opportunity to track and trace so we can get on top of this situation sooner,” McGowan said.
“I acknowledge lockdowns are frustrating, but they are a necessary response, to the threat we face.”
Last week’s lockdown marked the state’s third so far this year.
In January, following the discovery of one locally acquired case, Western Australia’s first lockdown spanned five days and cost the hospitality industry an estimated $500 million, with state coffers copping over $150 million, WAtoday reported.
Australia’s peak industry body, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), has previously warned that states’ snap lockdowns would pummel businesses and that it was not an effective long-term solution to managing the pandemic.
“The losers in the kneejerk lockdown contest are the community and the businesses that provide goods, services and jobs,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.
“We need to avoid panicked responses, and governments need to weigh health and broader advice including on mitigating the harsh economic impacts of tough restrictions and lockdowns.”