Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods has laid bare the extent of job losses after the closure of licensed venues today.
Mr Woods said 40,000 West Australians, including hospitality workers at restaurants, cafes and pubs, would today be unemployed.
“A terrible day for the industry… 40,000 people is more than two thirds of the stadium,” he told 6PR Morning Show host Gareth Parker.
Mr Woods said the industry had offered to pay staff welfare payments through the businesses they worked for but the Federal Government had turned the offer down, instead sending people to Centrelink.
Today there have been reports of long Centrelink queues and the MyGov website has crashed.
“I cannot see how 900,000 people who are losing their jobs across the country today in the tourism and hospitality sector are going to get serviced by a very small public service,” Mr Woods said.
“I’m really fearful that there are people out there who are going to find this all too hard.”
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the restrictions, which will take effect from midday.
Restaurants and cafes can continue to serve food but are restricted to take-away only.
Mr Woods said hotel operators were working with the WA Government on plans to use hotels for quarantine and treatment of patients.
“This is a dire situation for the nation and the hotel industry stands ready to help wherever we can,” Mr Woods said.
Premier Mark McGowan today said he “hates” having to enforce the closure of licensed venues today but said it is necessary to prevent further restrictions on West Australians
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr McGowan have said the closures could could be in place six months or longer.
“I feel terrible about this,” Mr McGowan said.
“Unfortunately it’s necessary to protect us all.
“If we don’t go down this path, more and more people will be infected with COVID-19 and it will put more pressure on our health systems.
“My heart goes out to those who have built their businesses from scratch and have now had their whole lives turned upside down.”
Countless WA restaurants and bars had already shut their doors before the announcement due to health concerns.
Fremantle brewery Little Creatures closed last week and Australia’s biggest pub The Camfield announced on Saturday it was also closing until further notice.
“Today The Camfield is closed for business until these uncertain times have passed,” The Camfield staff wrote on Facebook.
“Our love goes out to you all as we put our health first and treat social distancing with great importance.
“We look forward sharing a beer with you on the other side, stay safe Perth.”
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA predicts will take a $2 billion consumer spending hit from the coronavirus.
The CCIWA has called on consumers to support local businesses as much as possible, while still adhering to the health guidelines.
This content was originally published here.