Desperate pub and club owners around the country are turning to fundraising websites to pay for staff wages as they struggle to stay afloat during the coronavirus lockdown.
It comes after Scott Morrison ordered pubs and clubs to close to stop the spread of COVID-19, leaving thousands of employees without a job or working less hours.
Melbourne businesses The Old Bar, The Carringbush Hotel and Collingwood Station Coffee have so far raised over $26,000 to pay their 43 staff members.
‘These venues would not be what they are without them, and we, as owners, see them all as family,’ co-owner Liam Matthews said.
‘We plan to stay in the game long term, and this request for assistance is to cover the gap with staff wages, as we will have no choice but to cut shifts while we navigate all of this, as well as providing staff with financial assistance if we are forced to close altogether.’
Melbourne businesses The Old Bar, The Carringbush Hotel (pictured) and Collingwood Station Coffee have so far raised over $26,000 to pay their 43 staff
Mojo’s Bar (pictured) in Fremantle, south of Perth, has started a similar Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for their staff
Mr Matthews said donations will go toward wages for bar staff, kitchen hands, chefs, baristas and sound technicians, while the owners will foot the rest of their pay.
‘None of these funds will go toward payroll tax and super, we’ll still cover that,’ he said.
The bars are hoping to raise $16,000 per week for four weeks, a total amount of $64,000.
‘None of this money will go to the owners, to utilities or rent; 100 per cent of donated funds will be paid to staff to help them get through this period.’
Mr Matthews is also offering incentives for donations, such as bar tabs and free tickets to events at the venues once they reopen.
Mojo’s Bar in Fremantle, south of Perth, has started a similar Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for their staff.
‘Being the intimate and unique venue that we are, for the safety of you, the musos, the punters, our managers, our staff and all others who call Mojo’s Bar home we cannot continue to operate,’ the owners wrote.
‘Having closed last year to invest heavily in sound proofing, Mojo’s Bar, despite essential help from our supportive landlords, is not in a position to weather this storm.’
Owners of the live music bar said they created the crowdfunding page ‘out of sheer desperation and nowhere else to turn’.
‘[Money raised will] provide funds to pay overheads and liabilities outstanding such that we can then be in a position to reopen when it is safe to do so.’
So far more than $31,000 has been raised for the struggling pub.
The Go Fund Me accounts were created just a day after the prime minister shut down all ‘non-essential’ businesses such as pubs, clubs and gyms, leaving huge numbers of workers out of a job for the coming months.
The Old Bar, The Carringbush Hotel and Collingwood Station Coffee co-owner Liam Matthews said donations will go toward wages for bar staff, kitchen hands, chefs and baristas, while owners will foot the rest of their pay
Mr Matthews is also offering incentives for donations, such as bar tabs and free tickets to events at the venues once they reopen. Pictured: Old Bar in Melbourne
Cafes and restaurants are allowed to do takeaways only to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 2,300 Australians.
Unemployment in Australia is predicted to soar to 15 per cent, which would account for the highest rate of people out of work since 1932, according to The Age.
ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch said unemployment was likely to spike even quicker than it did during the global financial crisis.
‘Periods of higher unemployment are associated with a deterioration in mental health and a higher suicide rate. And in this crisis, social distancing and isolation pose additional risks to mental health,’ she said.
Centrelink will boost its workforce by 5,000 people to deal with the influx of applicants and extend call centre hours.
The Prime Minister earlier said Australia could be locked down for six months as states and territories prepare to take unprecedented measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
WHAT HAS CLOSED IN AUSTRALIA
Registered and licenced clubs
Licenced premises in hotels and pubs
Restaurants will only be able to provide a takeaway service
Places of worship
Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos and other forms of indoor entertainment
Funerals will have to follow an ‘enforced’ four-metre rule
Hairdressers and beauticians