The hospitality industry is being hit hard by coronavirus. Photo: File
The hospitality industry is being hit hard by coronavirus. Photo: File

Devastating job cuts to hit Coast clubs as virus strikes

CLUBS, HOTELS BRACE TO TRADE DOWNTURN AS RESTRICTIONS BITE

TWO NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES CONFIRMED ON COAST

ALMOST 700 casual workers in clubs across the Sunshine Coast are expected to lose their jobs as the hospitality industry struggles to survive the impacts of coronavirus.

The region's dining hot spots from RSL to surf clubs are experiencing an unprecedented drop in customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak, prompting multiple restrictions on public venues.

Clubs Queensland communications and government relations manager Laura Bos said the pandemic would have dire effects for casual staff as businesses were unable to pay wages.

"Not only are we managing the effects of decreased tourism numbers (surf clubs are a favourite destination for tourists) but as consumer confidence dwindles and anxiety increases in the local market, we are seeing our regular patron numbers drop off too," she said.

"Compounding this issue are the new venue capacity rules and social distancing requirements announced this week by the Federal Government.

"Clubs have seen an 80 per cent drop in patronage and this is just not sustainable."

MORE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST HERE

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With about 1000 casual workers in 28 clubs on the Coast, Ms Bos said multiple venues had begun to severely cut staff hours and numbers.

"With the current trading trends we would anticipate that our casual workforce could be reduced by at least 70 per cent across the board," she said.

"Some clubs will be able to retain more staff than others and will do what they can to continue to provide employment.

"We are asking clubs to support their staff as best they can and be sensitive to their casual staff's needs during this very difficult and uncertain time."

Ms Bos said the decision to lay off casual workers was not made lightly by club owners.

"Community clubs value all of their staff and this situation is heartbreaking for them," she said.

"We pride ourselves on our local employment record and something out of left-field like this is almost beyond comprehension.

"We ask that locals please continue to support their local club so we can continue to provide employment for local people and importantly, live through this virus pandemic and come out of it ready to build our workforce back up."

RSL and Services Club Association Queensland CEO Penny Wilson was also concerned about the future of employed staff across the board if the coronavirus outbreak continued to worsen.

"They're trying to retain their full-time and part-time employees as much as they can, but if this goes on for too long, there might be issues there as well," she said.

"The situation is changing almost by the hour.

"We're very concerned about the impact this is going to have on our staff, and also our members."

While clubs on the Coast ensure to maintain high hygiene standards, Ms Wilson said cutting staff would hit the hardest for their RSL members.

"It's dreadful," she said.

"We're very, very concerned about our staff because our clubs are very community-minded.

"It's done with the utmost regret. (But) they can't be paying casual staff when they don't have the revenue coming in."

"Just to be able to keep the doors open, we are going to have to be able to take some drastic measures."



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