Monday marks 12 months since a late-night press conference with the Prime Minister, announcing Australia would be placed into coronavirus lockdown.
The following 48 hours saw the closure of non-essential services with gyms, indoor sporting venues, nightclubs and entertainment venues shutdown, while restaurants and cafes were forced into takeaway only operations.
Since then small and local businesses across the country have taken a hit, many struggling to adapt to changing restrictions while for some, the impacts of the pandemic have forced them to shut up shop for good.
In Canberra, the situation has been described as a ‘mixed bag’.
Kel Watt from the Braddon United Retailers and Traders Association said while hope is returning, some sectors are continuing to feel the effects of the pandemic.
“Australia’s been very lucky with the way we’ve managed the pandemic.”
“In Canberra, we’re a bit like an island within an island so we don’t have as much to drag ourselves back from in terms of the public health crisis but obviously the economic crisis is a different thing.”
“Hospitality and a couple of other sectors like retail, health and beauty really did struggle and they’re still finding their way back.”
However, Mr Watt fears for the long road ahead that still faces local business.
“I think it’s going to be another 12 months or more before we see what we used to regard as ‘normal’ coming back again.”
“One of the things we’re pushing for now is more targeted assistance, we don’t need help right across the board with JobKeeper but for struggling sectors we’re hoping for some more targeted assistance.
“That’s both financial as well as through investment, much like the upgrades we’re seeing in Braddon and Dickson.”
As struggling businesses continue their long journey to pre-covid normality, Mr Watt has also put the call out to Canberrans to ‘do their bit’ as the pandemic continues.
“Get out, open up your pockets, go get some takeaway, sit down and have a beer, enjoy a nice wine, take your family and friends out for dinner and really help out the hospitality sector.”