Up to 22,000 employees in the hospitality industry will be affected by the closure of businesses because of the social distancing measures needed to fight COVID-19.
Tasmanian Hospitality Association chief executive Steve Old said the vast majority of 2000 hospitality businesses would close while extremely reduced levels of staffing would be at the remainder.
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"The industry must get the support required to get through this period from governments at all levels," he said.
Mr Old called on utilities and government agencies to waive payments so that venue operators could fund employee entitlements. "Payments such as energy bills, [Aurora Energy], water bills [TasWater], payroll tax and Business Activity Statements should be waived," he said.
Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Neil Grose called on landlords to assist tenants struggling to pay rent.
"The state government must introduce assistance and/or protection for vulnerable businesses," he said.
"While the assistance package may offer help through the tax system without immediate cash help to pay rent and other pressing outgoings, these businesses are at risk of failure."
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Local government could assist by waiving fees such as outdoor dining licence fees.
Mr Old said a transition to take away operations would not be straightforward for many cafes and restaurants depending on current kitchen make-up and operations.
"We encourage people to support those venues that are able to offer the take away services to try and maintain the highest level of employment in the industry," he said.
Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten said the council was developing a package to help businesses.
"We are looking at options like rates relief for small businesses, fees and charges relief, one-off grants, assistance for the organisers of cancelled events, help for community groups and other support measures," Mr van Zetten said.
"Pending Council's decision we are holding off on charging rent to businesses which lease Council premises, have elected not to pass on water or electricity charges to business tenants and we've introduced a weekly payment system to suppliers instead of forthnightly."
Mr Old said a vibrant hospitality sector was critical to the Tasmanian tourism.
"We are confident that the needs of our industry will be listened to by governments as we provide that advice to them," he said.
Mr Old said the THA present focus was to help operators navigate their way through the assistance packages. Mr Grose said said small business was finding it difficult to navigate a way through it all.
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