Virus shuts down region


Tate Papworth

Schools have closed and all pubs, clubs, casinos, cinemas, gyms and places of worship have been shut as the state battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state government announced that essential services would continue to operate, including banks, supermarkets, chemists and service stations.

The prime minister on Sunday asked all Australians to cancel non-essential travel.

The government has also urged everyone to implement strict social distancing practices in the wake of the pandemic.

While major supermarket shelves lie empty, so to do many restaurants and cafes.

Sunshine Business Association president Carson Luk implored the community to support each other.

“You can feel the impact just walking down Hampshire Road … there’s not as many people out and about,” Mr Luk said.

“Traders are very, very worried … sales are down, there’s not as many people coming in, stock isn’t moving quickly.

“If it’s like this for six or seven months as forecast, then we’ll start seeing businesses fold … if it’s prolonged any more than that, you’ll really start to notice it.”

Mr Luk said the council’s decision to close essential services, combined with current upgrades to Hampshire Road will also hurt businesses.

“We expected an interruption with the civic green development, but nothing to this extent.

“Businesses in the first few weeks of construction were hit hard … down 40-60 per cent.”

In difficult times, Mr Luk had one message for the community.

“Buy local. Think local. If you’re uncomfortable eating in at a restaurant, you can still support it with Uber Eats and those sort of options. In tough times we need to support each other.”

In St Albans, the situation isn’t as dire.

St Albans Business Association president Sam Agricola said there was still people out and about.

“There’s still movement on the strip … obviously we’ve got a bit of panic buying, but that seems to be flowing on.