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Border closures will impact small business – but good customer communication can help

by OnDeck Australia,   Dec 22, 2020

With the latest outbreak of COVID-19 on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it’s timely that recent industry research has revealed the majority of Australian small business owners have overwhelmingly named open borders as being critical to their recovery from the pandemic.

 

With the latest outbreak of COVID-19 on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, it’s timely that recent industry research has revealed the majority of Australian small business owners have overwhelmingly named open borders as being critical to their recovery from the pandemic.

 

Closures and restrictions

 

This week, the NSW Government was forced to respond to the coronavirus cluster which emerged in the Avalon region. Consequently, borders around Australia are being closed to Greater Sydney residents, as well as many parts of regional NSW.

 

On the Northern Beaches itself, its 250,000 residents can only leave home for four reasons: to shop for food or other essentials; go to work; visit a sick relative or on compassionate grounds; and to exercise. The wider Sydney region, including the Central Coast, has been asked to limit their movements as well and avoid any non-essential travel. Other restrictions in place for Greater Sydney include a limit of 10 people in homes, an outcome sure to throw the Christmas plans of many Sydney families into confusion.

 

Moreover, Sydneysiders planning to travel to regional NSW are being urged to reconsider their plans until the Northern Beaches outbreak is brought under control. Oliver Wade, Head of Marketing and Partnerships, OnDeck said, “This is a particularly challenging situation for those NSW regional businesses that were overwhelmed last Christmas by the catastrophic bushfires.”

 

State and territory response

 

All state and territory jurisdictions have now closed their borders in some way to the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney, including the nearby ACT. Anyone arriving in the ACT from Greater Sydney, Central Coast, and even the Wollongong area must now quarantine for 14 days[i].

 

The Victorian Government[ii] immediately responded to the infection spike by closing its borders to visitors from the Greater Sydney area and the Central Coast and designated these regions as ‘red zones’. This edict means people who live in these communities, or have visited these communities since 11 December 2020, cannot enter Victoria. Anyone from this zone found trying to enter Victoria in breach of this order will be subject to 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine.

 

Meanwhile travel from New South Wales into Western Australia will not be allowed unless travellers meet strict exemption criteria. Also, arrivals from NSW are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and have a COVID-19 test on Day 11[iii].

 

Impact on small business

 

Oliver said, “In November, we had lockdowns in South Australia, and now Sydney’s Northern Beaches that has the potential to impact the earnings of small businesses at a critical time in the trading calendar.

 

Therefore, a unified response to border closures by state and territory governments will prove helpful to small businesses, especially those in the retail, travel and hospitality industries, will give them a better chance of trading through the troubles created by these COVID-19 outbreaks,” he said.

 

That said, Oliver recognised that it’s challenging to estimate the full impact the lockdown will have on SMEs. However, he noted that forced closures of any length would undoubtedly prove testing for businesses as it has come at a crucial time in the trading year.

 

“It is difficult to say what the restrictions in the Northern Beaches will mean for SMEs in Sydney at this stage as an early resumption of trading conditions will be contingent on the success of the lockdown that is set to end at midnight on Wednesday,” he explained.

 

“But what we do know is that the current lockdown has come at a critical time for the retail, hospitality and tourism industry across Australia as the state and territory governments react to the Avalon cluster just days out from Christmas/New Year holiday period.”

 

Responding to lockdowns

 

For businesses operating in heavily affected sectors, there’ll be plenty of SME owners thinking through how they can safely reopen their operations as coronavirus lockdowns lift.

 

“A crucial part of reopening an SME is communicating effectively with your customers to make them aware of your business’ ‘new normal,” said Oliver.

 

“This messaging can also be helpful to reassure your customers that your small business is safe to visit, in person or online.”

 

Get in touch today to find out about OnDeck’s funding options that could support with finance for your SME’s recovery planning.

 

[i] https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/news-articles/update-for-anyone-arriving-in-the-act-from-greater-sydney

[ii] https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/further-measures-protect-victoria

[iii] https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/12/WA-hard-border-reinstated-with-New-South-Wales.aspx

 

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Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at December 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.

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