Tasmanian Businesses Experiencing A Decline In Sales As Covid-19 Cases Surge

For many Tasmanian businesses, the re-opening of the state’s border to the rest of Australia is causing plenty of logistical nightmares.

Bernadette Wood who owns a venue in southern Tasmanian has revealed that despite a huge increase in interstate bookings, late cancellations mean the number of weddings going ahead at one venue was reduced between 10 and 40 percent.

At two of Ms. Wood restaurants, almost one third of her staff are unable to work due to having COVID or being deemed close contacts, and local diners are staying away.

"We're definitely seeing that there's not many locals frequenting that area, I think locals are very much staying to their own areas and not going out much,” says Bernadette Wood.

Economist Diana Mousina said that Google mobility data has showed retail and recreation activity in Tasmania for the first week of January had fallen to the lowest level since September last year.

"It could be some Christmas or New Year impacts that have had led to the shift down in the data, but I think it's more reflective of the very high increase in cases that Tasmania has had pretty much in the space of two or three weeks. I think that there will be a hit to activity for Tasmania from the high increase in cases, but I think the same thing will happen across the other states and territories as well,” says AMP senior economist Diana Mousina.

Ms. Mousina outlined that a more in-depth picture of how Tasmania's economy has performed since the reopening will become evident in coming months when retail and employment statistics are published.

Louise Grimmer, a senior lecturer in retail marketing at the University of Tasmania, says that many business owners across the state have been telling her it was "very quiet in many sectors".

"Even though we are not in a formal lockdown, effectively, consumers are acting as though we are. Particularly in terms of visitation to physical stores and cafes and restaurants, we are seeing a reduction in spending across many categories such as clothing, footwear and accessories, household goods including furniture and appliance,” says Louise Grimmer, a senior lecturer in retail marketing at the University of Tasmania.

"I think it's a worrying time for local Tasmanian businesses and it will be important for government at all levels to acknowledge the reality of the situation and step in with financial and other types of support so that businesses can get through this difficult period of uncertainty,” continued Louise Grimmer.

Dr. Grimmer believes that Tasmanian businesses will need a combination of government assistance and community support to get through the latest downturn.

"We were brilliant at doing this in 2020 and 2021, when many local businesses thrived, and it will be important that we try to do our best to again support local stores in 2022," says Dr. Grimmer.

Tasmanian State Tourism Minister Sarah Courtney says businesses in some parts of the state had been impacted by the spread of covid-19 and encouraged businesses to contact Business Tasmania for advice and support, on top of the yet-to-be-announced support package.

"We are seeing a large degree of variation with the impact on businesses across Tasmania. While indeed there are some businesses who have been impacted negatively, I know that there are businesses that are thriving because of visitors coming into the state," said Tasmanian State Tourism Minister Sarah Courtney.

A support package for businesses is set to be announced by the Tasmanian Government by the end of January.

Tasmanian Businesses Experiencing A Decline In Sales As Covid-19 Cases Surge <br>