The Townsville Chamber of Commerce are calling on State Government to review restrictions on office workers and include them in the state road map to recovery to allow their return to the CBD to prevent the closure of more small businesses.
Townsville Chamber of Commerce President Michele Falconieri has applauded the regional business community for their responsiveness in the face of COVID-19, but with restrictions now reducing for various sectors including shopping centres he is keen to ensure that office workers were allowed back to work to ensure the CBD is not left behind.
“Trade such as, getting a take-away coffee, picking up some lunch or buying a gift simply does not happen if office workers are forced to continue to work from home,
“Provided that social distancing and other health precautions are observed by businesses, it makes economic sense to permit people to leave their home to attend work, even if it can be performed remotely,” said Mr. Falconieri.
“Our region has now had over 35 days without a COVID -19 case reported, and prior to that very few reported cases were contracted in the regions.
“Many businesses acted swiftly re-positioning themselves to work remotely to reduce the economic impact for their business, unfortunately, it seems those businesses that took steps to survive the pandemic are now caught in a position which prevents them from returning to their offices.
“The relaxation of the closure direction for some ‘Non-Essential Businesses’ on 2 May saw the re-activation of several Shopping Centres, but it is just a few words at the end of a paragraph in the Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction that directs office workers to remain at home if they can work remotely from home, and seals the fate for those businesses that supply to and rely on, trade from those office workers,” said Mr. Falconieri.
Mr. Falconieri has asked government to deliver a timeline for when this restriction will be relaxed so businesses can make their own decisions about whether their employees can safely return to the office and in doing so, return the support for their local businesses.
“This information is crucial to enabling small businesses to plan for re-opening, ordering necessary supplies, hiring staff and being ready for re-activation,” concluded Mr. Falconieri.
Paragraph 6(e) of the direction provides that a person must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, permitted purposes one of which is – to perform work or volunteering, or carry out or conduct an essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work, business activity or undertaking to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;
The Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 3) can be found at :-