Businesses beg for mandate review as shocking mental health toll revealed

Mental health challenges due to COVID impacts have affected more than half of Queensland business owners and their staff, confronting new data has revealed.

It comes as the sunshine state officially hit the 90 per cent double dose vaccine milestone yesterday, which was initially due to trigger the easing of restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Instead, the State Government has confirmed there will be no changes for the time being, with those still yet to get the jab remaining barred from places like pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said businesses have again been left without certainty as to when mandates will be lifted, putting further strain on local owners and staff.

“In November 2021, businesses were informed of new mandates which would impact them when state borders re-opened but at the same time were promised a review of those rules when Queensland hit the 90% vaccination target,” CCIQ Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said.

“Today is the day Queensland businesses have been hanging out for months.

“Today is the day the state was due to get back to business and mandates and business restrictions reviewed but the Queensland Premier and the Small Business Minister have not given businesses the clarity and certainty they were promised more than four months ago.”

Ms Rohan said close to 63% of businesses surveyed by CCIQ said mental health challenges due to COVID impacts had affected them and their staff, up from 45% in July last year.

“The financial and emotional impact of business restrictions, mandates, low consumer confidence, supply chain disruptions and staff availability mean businesses have little optimism to see them through,” Ms Rohan said.

“Many businesses are on their knees, and some have told us the Omicron wave has caused them more financial and emotional harm than the original COVID economic impact in Queensland in 2020.

“These businesses are desperate to know what’s next and what it will take for them to be able to recover long-term.”

The State Opposition has also called on the Queensland Government to provide some kind of support to help businesses decimated by the latest Omicron wave, suggesting a fresh round of vouchers would suffice.

“On the Gold Coast, in Brisbane’s CBD, businesses are closing their doors and Queenslanders are losing their jobs,” Shadow Small Business Minister Brent Mickelberg said.

“The State Government should be providing measures like voucher systems as NSW has done, but unfortunately all we have seen from the Queensland Government is silence”.