Easter break: Hope lockdown lift will encourage booking recovery
The Easter long weekend was expected to be key to the region’s economic recovery but this week’s Brisbane lockdown sparked a surge in booking cancellations.
Still, local leaders and business owners are hopeful there’s been enough of a window since the lockdown lift to encourage as last minute turn for the best.
Ongoing restrictions including the wearing of masks at venues continue to be a wild card.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events General Manager Martin Simons told the Chronicle businesses across the Coast had seen cancellations amid the lockdown.
“Whether (those businesses) are able to fully recover, I don’t know,” Mr Simons said.
But the challenges combined with predicted gloomy weather aren’t stopping most from trying to remain positive.
“There’s been a lot of concern expressed, but I think the fact that lockdown has been lifted five hours early to allow travel might make people more confident ... It’ll be a pretty booming period, certainly for accommodation,” Mr Simons said.
“I couldn‘t say it’s all going to recover but we would say that it’s still going to be extremely busy for Easter for accommodation and in the coming school holidays.
“There will be a bit of an impact on hospitality food and beverage where the rules have gone back to being seated ... Distancing restrictions on hospitality have not changed but there’s a little bit more process to go through, I think that’s manageable, but it does have an impact on hospitality venues because of that change.”
With bookings about 60 per cent capacity on Thursday, this was expected to rise to 80 per over the weekend and throughout the school holidays.
Banksia Seafood and Grill co-owner Aleeca Collins told the Chronicle the business had seen bookings decrease, but were remaining “optimistic”.
“Even earlier this week, we‘ve already noticed a lot of cancellations, but we’re hoping ... the lack of tourism isn’t going to affect us,” Ms Collins said.
Councillor Darren Everard urged people to support struggling local businesses over the break.
“Go to a small business and have a picnic ... There’s been a fair bit of pressure with the restrictions and uncertainty surrounding that ... We just encourage people to support local businesses during this time,” Cr Everard told The Chronicle.