It's been quieter than usual down at Launceston's Original Charcoal Chicken, where shop owner Somba Lim is working hard to keep one of the city's most beloved eateries open.
"We've noticed in the last few days we're not seeing as much foot traffic," he said.
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On top of a lull in business, Mr Lim is also navigating a persistent staff shortage - caused by rising staff in isolation - which has been hitting the industry since borders reopened less than a month ago.
"We've had as many as half of our staff in isolation. It's been hard - people are working overtime. But we're one of the fortunate ones that can still stay open," he said.
Many less fortunate businesses around the city have been forced to close their doors entirely - such as Brisbane Street bar The Barrel Collective - or else move to takeaway only, such as Burger Junkie on St John Street.
Most of these business disruptions are being attributed to current isolation requirements for close contacts - but that could be about to change.
The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has joined in with a chorus of other peak bodies and union groups in calling for close contact isolation requirements to be loosened by the National Cabinet - as they were for the nation's critical supply chain workers earlier this week.
TCCI chief executive Michael Bailey spoke out on Tuesday and called on policymakers to increase the number of employees who are exempt from isolating if they're not COVID positive.
"If we don't make these changes, and soon, then there are going to be serious consequences for the community and for the economy," he said.
However, the call for looser restrictions has not been met without opposition, with groups like The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Transport Workers Union and Unions Tasmania vehemently opposing the winding back of any close contact isolation requirements.
When asked how he would respond to close contact changes being brought in, Mr Lim conceded that balancing public health with the need for staff was a difficult task.
"We want to keep everyone safe but at the same time we're heading into our third year of COVID-19 and businesses are still closing because they have staff in quarantine," he said.
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Tasmania's adjustments to the close contact rules are expected to be unveiled later this week, though what sectors will be granted isolation exemptions remains unclear.
While the isolation wind-back has proven contentious, calls for more business support by the state government have been largely unanimous. Tasmanian Labor's Janie Finlay is one of many calling for any upcoming package to support both workers and businesses.
"People need clarity, they need information and many businesses need increased financial support," she added.
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The state government has flagged a renewed package for businesses alongside the inbound changes to isolation requirements later this week. Toward that end, Mr Bailey noted that the TCCI had been in talks with the state government regarding more support.
"I've spoken with the premier and his team about what we'd like to see. I do think it needs to be focused on businesses that have workers needing to quarantine," he said.
Meanwhile back in Launceston, Mr Lim said he felt the government should have been more proactive in getting businesses back on their feet.
"While government incentives can be used in a temporary manner, it's just a quick fix [...] We need to allow people to get back to their work, plans and goals with proper systems in place."
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