Australian businesses are grappling with workers who are sick or ordered to self-isolate.
Omicron’s push in Australia is leading to staff shortages that have disrupted supply chains and hampered economic recovery.
Australian businesses are grappling with the growing number of workers who are sick or ordered to self-isolate for close contact. But the virus is also pushing customers away from the airline, entertainment and hospitality sectors, already hit by several lockdowns in the past two years.
“Essentially [small businesses] are locked up… there is little support to help them keep their doors open, ”Alexi Boyd, head of the Council of Small Business Organizations, told ABC broadcaster Wednesday.
Australia’s daily infections on Wednesday lingered near record highs with around 100,000 cases reported so far. Forty-two new deaths have been recorded, with New South Wales reporting its worst day of the pandemic with 21 deaths, although seven of them are deaths dating back to September which have been added to the toll following inquiries coronal.
Labor shortages and cautious attendance in public places have stifled household spending, the Australian and New Zealand banking group said in a research note, with spending in early January looking like conditions lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest cities.
Before the Omicron outbreak erupted over the Christmas period, the economy had experienced a surprisingly strong recovery. In November, employment levels rose much faster than expected as coronavirus lockdowns were lifted and retail sales also increased for a second consecutive month.
In a context of pressure on supply chains, the supermarket chain Coles Group has reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper, certain meat products and medicines.
Criticizing at the start of an election year on his handling of the Omicron outbreak, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has proposed easing isolation rules for asymptomatic workers ahead of a national cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The head of Melbourne’s Chapel Street Precinct, a local marketing organization representing some 2,200 business entities, said controversy over tennis superstar Novak Djokovic had “created the perfect distraction” for Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and Morrison .
“[The Djokovic case] means that attention is far from being sufficiently focused on the absolute decimation of small businesses, ”said Managing Director Chrissie Maus.
An Australian court on Monday overturned the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa due to his medical exemption status, but he remains under threat of deportation.