Businesses still hurting from COVID

BUSINESS LEADER: McLeods Automotive Owner Malcolm McLeod says local businesses are still feeling the pinch from the state's COVID restrictions.
BUSINESS LEADER: McLeods Automotive Owner Malcolm McLeod says local businesses are still feeling the pinch from the state's COVID restrictions.

The Whyalla Business and Tourism Chair has called for more long-term financial support for local businesses forced to close their doors for a week due to the state's COVID-19 lockdown.

Malcolm McLeod, who owns McLeods Automotive in Whyalla, said most businesses were dealing with a big hit to their income - more than the $3000 emergency cash grants offered by the state government.

"In general terms giving $3000 to businesses that have lost seven days of revenue is not enough, but let's remember the employees who have lost more than 20 hours can also apply for their own personal funding," he said.

"I think it's tough for those businesses who have been through a lockdown like all of us but can't re-open to their normal capacity - they're the ones that are going to need ongoing support.

"People like Whyalla Travel and Cruise, they've never really come back from this. A lot of businesses have just started to bounce back and then it's happened again."

Mr McLeod said the upside was that the lockdown had only lasted seven days, and many hospitality businesses had turned to takeaway to keep running.

"That's what they would have learnt to do from the lockdown in 2020, going forward after midnight restrictions will still impact many businesses but let's hope it's only for a short term," he said.

For Malcolm his business is fortunately regarded as an essential service, as it provides repairs and services for vehicles, allowing him to keep 60 per cent of his staff working.

"Certainly salesman and some admin people related to car sales have been taking some annual leave to get through this," he said.

"We're very lucky it's only been seven days, we should be positive about that...let's hope those extra restrictions are only in for another seven to 14 days.

"I hope everyone stays safe and we can keep moving forward."

During the Tuesday morning press conference Premier Steven Marshall said businesses had been "adaptive" to the circumstances.

"I'm very confident that many people in South Australia will work out ways that they can return to viability," he said.

"My focus is trying to give that immediate cash grant support and get those dollars out the door."