‘Death sentence’: What it means to be on COVID list
BEING added to Queensland Health's public alert list is like a death knell for small business, owners say.
Businesses named on public lists of where COVID cases visited are reporting drops of up to 90 per cent in foot traffic, sparking calls from community leaders and the Health Minister to support impacted businesses.
Lakeside Fruit Barn owner Jack Singh said business has plummeted since Queensland Health revealed that a person with COVID-19 visited the fruit shop between 4.30-5pm on August 12.
Singh said foot traffic had reduced by 90 per cent in recent days.
While he supports and understands the needs for the alerts, he like many others has done the work to clean his store and wants his customers to know it's safe to return.
"We have already done the deep cleaning and it's all been sorted, the staff have all been cleared," he said.
"The centre is generally a lot more quiet, but (for) the businesses on the list, people have been super duper scared off."
Mr Singh said he was concerned he would have to let staff go or reduce hours.
"They are doing nothing," he said.
The Red Cross Op Shop in Sherwood reported experiencing similar drops in foot traffic, even though the premises had been deep cleaned and staff returned negative COVID tests.
"We don't really want to be on the list now but I know why we have to be on the list," manager Sharon said.
The Jam Pantry owner Victor Chan made the decision to close his business until September 4 after two instances of COVID-positive people entering the cafe, but was worried that once they reopen, customers will continue to be scared away.
"I don't think there will be many customer," he said.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said it was a tough time for local businesses, especially those that have been required to close for cleaning or because staff have been required to get tested and quarantine.
"These businesses are absolutely safe for people to visit and shop at," he said.
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce President Phillip Bell said it was important consumers remember businesses on the lists are not at fault.
"With every instance of outbreak, whether community or institution, there is a marginal erosion in public and consumer confidence," he said.
"They are not responsible.
"Those businesses that have suffered the consequence of being involved in those local outbreaks need support more than any other.
"Consumers can have confidence that as long as there is a COVID-plan in place."
Originally published as 'Death sentence': What it means to be on COVID list