Business confusion over COVID checklist
LOCAL business owners are frustrated with a lack of clarity in the State Government’s recently released COVID Safe Checklists.
Checklists have been released for beauty and nail salon businesses, as well as pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants that outline measures business owners need to follow so they can safely re-open their business.
The lists are almost three pages long and contain dozens of criteria businesses must meet but. despite the length, some business owners are finding inconsistencies.
“Confusing” was how Anne Neubecker at Coffee at Dayzees described the checklist.
“Some of us are doing it – so we only seat 10, we’ve got our signage, we’ve got the handwash and that sort of thing – and then you basically get around to (shopping centres) and up town and people aren’t even doing it.”
She said important messaging was not filtering through and it also wasn’t clear who she should contact with questions.
“Obviously some people don’t know anything about that, which is understandable,” she said.
“Unless you know somebody that’s following all this and is hands-on and got an idea, you wouldn’t have a clue, would you?
“Then that makes it hard because we’re spending money to print stickers and signs to do the right thing, it’s just so confusing.”
The issue of consistency was also noted by Patricia Meister at Patricia’s Beauty Clinic.
Ms Meister said she was finding the list of requirements easy enough to follow as they were mostly things she did in the day-to-day running of the business.
“I feel quite in tune with it because I’ve kept up to date with it,” she said.
“But for those that haven’t it’s a little bit overwhelming.
“Things like keeping a client register and having a questionnaire – they’re really important things that should be in place.”
While she found the checklist easy enough to follow, she wasn’t sure what consituted a “serious breach”, which could attract a hefty fine.
“The only thing is, I don’t know what they regard as a serious beach and that I would like to know.
“But then, you don’t want to open a can of worms and the whole industry gets closed down again because of something that’s not clear.”
Marcus Sorbello at H20 Burnett Riverside Hotel said he completely understood the need for the checklist, but the one-size-fits-all approach needed to be reconsidered.
“If there’s one industry where they does not work, it’s hospitality. We’re all so vastly different,” he said.
He said a square-metre approach would be better as, while social distancing was a priority, it didn’t make sense that his restaurant with a comfortable seating capacity of several hundred was restricted to 10.
And while Mr Sorbello said he knew things would gradually return to normal, he thought the next step needed to be a big one and needed to be taken sooner rather than later.
In a statement, the Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce called for clarity on the issues the checklists presented, asking the state government to enact proper legislation rather than “this kneejerk reactionary way of running a government”.
There was also confusion over businesses that offered multiple services.
“Our hair salons don’t need to operate under the checklist, unless they provide beauty services, then they do, but we don’t know if they need the names of everyone in the salon or just the names of their beauty clients.”
“Business and industry have been calling on the Government to listen to and work with organisations and to develop a true road map,” the statement said.
“Businesses and consumers need certainty and confidence going forward, and issues like a badly worded checklist only add to the confusion and uncertainty.”
The NewsMail contacted the State Government for comment on the chamber’s concerns and was referred to the COVID-19 website.