The year 2020 has been a complete write-off for many local businesses as they reel under the devastating impact of coronavirus.
Talking about how hard they have been hit, Clive Thompson, owner of the Barrel Inn, says his business has been impacted 100 per cent since it’s been closed over these two lockdowns.
“2020 has been a complete non-starter for us. The money is gone, it’s lost. We can’t make up for it,” says the Irish pub owner.
“The wage subsidy that the government is paying only helps to pay wages to the staff but doesn’t pay your bills, the power, rent or overheads.
“The interest-free loans to small businesses are no use because at the end of the day you still have to pay them back. You don’t want to take an unnecessary loan because you are not making any money to pay it back.
Thompson says that businesses need lots of money to ride this out, “or you are in dire straits”.
“Now in Alert Level 2.5 we have to comply by the rules and have seated table service. There’s no bar service. It means having more staff and less revenue.
“If you have a magic wand to make the business miraculously work, do let me know, we’ve lost six to eight months of income and would like it back.
Barry O ‘Shaunesseym, proprietor at The Prospect of Howick, says there is no other option than picking up and getting up on the horse.
“You can’t make up for all you’ve lost. Since Monday we are all guns blazing.
“There has been no trade for so long, we can’t make up for what we lost…but we just have to deal with it, there are no options.
“There has been a good wage subsidy but the wage subsidy doesn’t feed me,” he says.
“I haven’t done a percentage on how much business I’ve lost….it will scare the hell out of me,” he admits.
“We’ve had a staff meeting on Friday and the doors opened on Monday. Everyone is welcome.”
Praveen Dahiya, manager of restaurant and rooftop bar Basalt, says that this year has been the most challenging one in Basalt’s 17 years in business.
“Trading down at least 30 per cent on the previous year, not accounting for the nine weeks we have been closed to date with no trade to cover overheads.
“Moving to Alert Level 2, we now have no choice but to get better at adapting to change,” he says.
“When we closed in March, we immediately implemented new business strategies which covered all alert levels which we hope puts us in a better position as we go through this once again.”
“We don’t think we can make up for the loss until we are back to pre-Covid trading conditions, which is heavily reliant on borders re-opening and tourism resuming.”