Small business Sport and recreation COVID-19 COVID -19 recovery Sole traders

Inconsistencies in regional restrictions should be reviewed

21 October 2020

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has urged the Andrews Labor Government to urgently re-examine inconsistencies in its latest round of restrictions.

Ms Ryan said it made little sense that gyms were unable to open and religious gatherings were restricted to 20 people outdoors when 70 people could be seated outdoors at a pub.

“There seems to be no rhyme or reason to some of the government’s restrictions,” Ms Ryan said.

“It is just bizarre that the Andrews Government was going to allow 500 people on course for the Cox Plate, yet they won’t allow more than 20 people to gather outdoors to worship, or work with gyms to allow them to open with a COVID safe plan.

“While government ministers are busy dodging responsibility for the hotel quarantine debacle, we have local businesses on the brink of ruin and people facing severe mental health challenges.”

Ms Ryan has also again raised concerns that some businesses are finding themselves locked out of accessing any government assistance. Ms Ryan today met with Seymour fitness studio owner Carly Wilson today who has been hit hard by government restrictions.

“Carly Wilson has showed pure grit in continuing to adapt her business to support her clients, and to survive.

“She has been ineligible for business assistance as a sole trader who works from home. The impacts of these unfair eligibility rules have been particularly felt by women who are more likely to work from home.”

Ms Wilson was in disbelief when she discovered government business support would not extend to her after being locked down with metropolitan Melbourne in early-July, and only able to reopen in a limited way in mid-September.

“The impact of the prolonged lockdown on Seymour has been immeasurable. The blow to local small businesses and to the fitness industry doesn’t seem to have an end date. Not only do I have no business certainty, but I have been unable to access assistance to try to adapt,” Ms Wilson said.

“As a sole trader I have been ineligible for business support grants, and I was ineligible for sole trader support because I operate my fitness studio from home.”

Ms Ryan said the health and fitness industry in regional Victoria should be allowed to reopen if they could demonstrate that they can do so safely – as they could during stage 3 in the first lockdown.

“It doesn’t make sense that dynamic businesswomen like Carly have been excluded from business support,” Ms Ryan said.

“It makes even less sense that gyms and fitness studios remain closed when hundreds of people can be in Bunnings, kids are back at school and 70 people can sit outside at a pub.”

“The inconsistencies in regional Victoria’s restrictions must be addressed by the Andrews Government.”

Steph Ryan MP and Carly Wilson

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