SA businesses get help amid virus spike

·2-min read

South Australia has started rolling out financial support to business sectors affected by the surge in coronavirus cases, but the hospitality industry says the premier still needs a "reality check" about the damage being done.

Initial grants of up to $11,000 will be paid to those in the hospitality, tourism and fitness sectors with a further $11,000 on offer after an application and assessment process.

The government says payments worth about $10 million have already been approved for about 3400 businesses as part of a support package worth $40 million.

The package was unveiled after new restrictions were imposed across SA at Christmas in response to rising COVID-19 infections, which hit a record high of 3246 on Tuesday.

The measures included tough density limits, with hospitality venues limited to one person to every four square metres and gyms to one person to every seven square metres, hitting their viability at a peak trading time.

Premier Steven Marshall said the government recognised that some businesses had less money going into their tills

"We know that we've got to support those sectors that are the hardest hit," he said.

"But we're still vulnerable to Omicron. We don't want Omicron to overwhelm our health system.

"So we are being cautious, we need to be cautious but we are also providing support for those businesses which are adversely affected."

However, the Hospitality Owners Collective said the tighter measures had come on top of 12 months of restricted trade.

It said despite suggestions it had enjoyed good trading conditions last year, the sector had not been allowed to operate at full capacity even during the 100 or more days SA had no coronavirus cases.

The group urged the premier to engage with the "people on the ground bleeding the money".

"Maybe if you spoke to our staff now on unemployment lines and unable to pay their rent you would offer more meaningful support to the businesses trying desperately to keep them employed," it said on its Facebook page.

The collective urged businesses in the industry to tag the premier in their social media posts "so he gets a reality check on the real damage he is doing".

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