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November 19, 2020

‘We will suffer’: Hospitality venues buckle under six-day lockdown

Bars, pubs and restaurants were one of the hardest hit sectors from the original coronavirus lockdown, and just as they were starting to recover they’ve been knocked back again.

  • Words: Angela Skujins


Andrew Fantasia only had his Central Market restaurant and bottle shop Aces Pizza & Liquor open for three months before COVID-19 hit in March this year.

And just as Aces picked up steam, in the time since the months-long first coronavirus closure, a new round of harsh restrictions announced yesterday, dubbed a “circuit-breaker”, will once again set the business back.

“We will suffer,” Andrew says, “we will have a big loss.

“We had 90 people cancel in two days, and there are Christmas parties in December that have cancelled.

“God forbid this is longer than six days, because we still have to pay full-time wages and pay suppliers. We have also perishables and will have a whole lot of food wastage.”

In a bid to crush a concerning coronavirus cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, as of midnight Wednesday, 18 November, virtually all activities except those deemed essential services have been banned in South Australia.

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and food courts will remain shut; takeaway options are also banned.

Andrew says prior to the announcement Wednesday, he was already suffering from the South Australian Government’s warnings announcement from earlier in the week, which strongly discouraged the public from leaving their homes.

He’s not feeling optimistic about what’s to come following these new rounds of restrictions, either.

“Coming out of it, we’re not going to have the bookings that we had,” Andrew says.

“The run into Christmas, our busiest period, is now is looking quite bleak.”

Andrew Fantasia  says Aces usually handles hundreds of covers on a Friday night. The day before restrictions were announced, 81 bookings were cancelled.


CityMag asked the City of Adelaide what financial aid will be available to businesses in the city suffering losses right now, but we have not received a response.

Leader of the Opposition Peter Malinauskas said in a statement the thousands of workers who are now without an income won’t be “forgotten.”

“To all the small businesses, worried about what tomorrow brings, a brighter day will come.”

Kevin Gregg co-owns Rundle Street’s Exeter Hotel, which on 1 June celebrated its first days of service since the original 70-day lockdown with pints of Cooper and schooners of Krug.

This latest round of restrictions is “devastating,” Kevin says, but at the same time, “it has to be done.

“’I’m thankful it’s the 18th of November, not the 18th of December [because] imagine being shut for Christmas. Imagine if we were closed over that period.”

Kevin says this will obviously affect the businesses’ financial situation as they will lose a week’s worth of sales, if not more.

But he’s more concerned about his 32 employees, who will not be paid for six days. This is because the Exeter is not eligible for the Federal Government’s COVID-19 financial supplement, JobKeeper.

If a business recorded a loss of loss of at least 30 per cent on September 28, they could remain on the scheme. When CityMag conducted an interview for this story, Kevin says the pub did not record that loss.

“Nobody was affected by that 10-week closure,” he explains.

“They were somewhat affected but not terribly affected as they had some money coming in. Now, none of them will have money coming in.”

In terms of how this will affect smaller businesses, Shane Ettridge of West End bar Proof welcomes the restrictions as it’s better than the public being fearful and absent.

“From an emotional point of view, I find it very difficult to stand in the bar when the patrons aren’t encouraged to be there, so shutting us down is really the smartest way to go about it,” Shane says.

“If we can’t achieve some decent trade by the end of the year, it changes everything.

“Unfortunately, in our local economy, basically all hospitality businesses rely on a strong six-week lead into Christmas and you do bank on that. You set your business up with that in mind.

“Any financial support would obviously be welcomed.”


Visit SA Health for more information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our sister publication InDaily for news updates. If the COVID-19 news cycle is affecting your mental health and wellbeing, call the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line on 1800 632 753.

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