Huge cost of Omicron wave revealed in Qld as Covid cases surge
Queensland businesses have made a desperate plea for help after it was revealed the Omicron wave is costing industry $180 million a day.
The state’s chamber of commerce and industry (CCIQ) has conducted a survey showing 85 per cent of Queensland businesses have been affected by Omicron.
CCIQ policy and advocacy manager Amanda Rohan said the crisis was driven by staff shortages with workers off sick.
“We estimate it‘s costing Queensland about $180 million a day. So every extra day a business can’t operate and people can’t get to work is costing our economy,” Ms Rohan told 4BC radio.
“One of the biggest constraints on business at the moment is access to efficient and fast Covid-19 rapid antigen tests. So that’s what‘s holding us back from getting people back into work quicker.”
Businesses asked for clarity on using RATs as their first line of defence in November last year.
The government is now using rapid tests but has no stock available for businesses to use.
“It is poor planning and it is very disappointing and frustrating for businesses,” Ms Rohan said.
“In fact, we’ve had some big impacts on some of our business sectors having to close or really reduce their trading times and how they operate their business.”
As big companies snap up rapid test supplies, struggling small businesses risk closing down permanently.
Brisbane City Council has announced a $5 million relief package for over 5000 businesses and clubs in a bid to fight the financial cost of Omicron.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner called on the state government to offer power bill rebates and payroll tax concessions to help businesses recover.
“Many business owners and community groups have told me that this is turning out to be the most difficult time of all since the pandemic began,” Mr Schrinner said.
Originally published as Huge cost of Omicron wave revealed in Qld as Covid cases surge
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