Australia

Vic pubs plea to reopen amid mounting debt

Victorian pubs are reportedly being hit with costs of up to $25,000 a week while not being able to open because of pandemic restrictions.An Australian Hotel Association survey of its members found larger pubs were being forced to fork out $25,000 just to keep their businesses alive, the Herald Sun reports.Many pub owners fear they…

Victorian pubs are reportedly being hit with costs of up to $25,000 a week while not being able to open because of pandemic restrictions.

An Australian Hotel Association survey of its members found larger pubs were being forced to fork out $25,000 just to keep their businesses alive, the Herald Sun reports.

Many pub owners fear they will be forced to close down before Christmas as mounting debt and little revenue causing havoc for the industry.

The Herald Sun also reports smaller watering holes are being hit with average weekly costs of $10,000 and some had reached debts of $250,000 since restrictions were enforced.

Australian Hotels Association Victorian president David Canny told the newspaper that pubs wanted people to be able to “safely celebrate” the Grand Final, Christmas and the New Year.

“We still have to pay rates, power, building security, insurance, land tax, corporate tax and the fixed overheads each day of the week, with many operators continuing to pay staff who are not entitled to government assistance such as chefs on visas,” he said.

Hoteliers are pleading for their businesses to be able to reopen as some restrictions ease this weekend, and the State Government is reportedly considering allowing limited outdoor dining to return.

But Premier Daniel Andrews said this week only restrictions that were safe to ease would be eased.

Mr Andrews said coronavirus cases numbers were too high to proceed with all of the planned steps under Melbourne’s second stage of reopening.

“Those that are safe, we will proceed with,” Mr Andrews said.

“There may be some others that we believe are safe that were not necessarily foreshadowed at that time.

“Everything people have given has to count for something. And it will count for a lot more if we see this thing through for a few more weeks and then take safe steps when they’re safe to be taken and not taken now because we all let our frustration get the better of us.”

It comes after high-profile Sorrento hotelier Julian Gerner launched a challenge of the government’s coronavirus lockdown on Monday.

Mr Gerner’s legal team will attempt to argue restrictions such as the 5km rule, essential worker permits and being locked at home under a curfew were a disproportionate response to the threat of coronavirus.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.