Traders battle to keep up jobs
MOST Cairns small businesses, especially retail and hospitality, are taking the decision to stay open day by day.
Even the relative hope of another round of Federal Government handouts to keep people employed was not registering too keenly with Far North business owners.
Anthea Giles' Archie and the Bear cafe on Sheridan St in Cairns North is operating, albeit on reduced hours, for takeaway foods and coffee as well as cakes and slices.
"We haven't given the government money too much thought. We don't know what it'll be just yet," she said.
"We're trying to hang in. We've got three workers who have had nothing come through from Centrelink just yet. We're trying to make sure they have some money.
"It hasn't changed our position. We are struggling. (Yesterday) was particularly bad but we're still ticking along. We are taking it day by day and still might have to reconsider it."
Prawn Star owner Danny Moore said he had to let go nine other workers.
"We basically set a target for the amount of sales, and as long as we hit those targets, we're OK," he said.
"I'm absolutely looking forward to the third stimulus package.
"The more people we can keep employed the better.
"For a business like mine, I've set a modest turnover target per week to keep the last four staff employed and pay fixed expenses.
"Those people whose income has not been affected by this, I think they should be encouraged to keep spending modestly in the economy as they normally would to help those businesses survive.
"Even if they had plans to get a swimming pool, or get a new roof, they should continue those normal spending habits."
Woodward St Bakery co-owner Sarah Cossa said she had stopped drawing a wage in order to save staff jobs.
She said the business had already noticed a downturn in January and restrictions on dining had hit even harder.
But Ms Cossa said the Whitfield community had been regularly coming in to buy coffees and takeaway bread and pastries.
FEDERAL Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has unveiled the government's new wage subsidy plan - its latest and boldest effort to help businesses and their workers survive the coronavirus downturn. The policy includes paying employers $1500 per fortnight for each employee they keep on over the next six months. A similar wage subsidy scheme was introduced by the United Kingdom, where Boris Johnson's government will cover 80 per cent of businesses' wage bills.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was part of a hibernation strategy to keep businesses running.
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Originally published as Cairns traders battle to keep up jobs