Crunch time for businesses amid COVID-19

Victoria Park’s small businesses are struggling with fewer customers going out, following the coronavirus crisis.

Dark Horse Espresso in Victoria Park. Photo: Tyler Armenti.

Sixteen Ounces owner Andrew Atkinson said people are scared of the unknown and it’s the lack of customer confidence that has led to the decline.

“Everybody’s been told to social distance, which is fair enough and I think it’s just the unknown,” he said.

“People are just unsure of what’s the right thing to do, what’s the wrong thing to do, so they are just staying away.

“So no customers.”

Victoria Park councillor Vicki Potter said the council are discussing how to support local businesses, while their first priority is the safety of the community.

“It’s all really hit very suddenly but we’ve certainly started to have conversations,” she said.

“There’s been meetings about what sort of stimulus packages we can put in for the local businesses but at this time nothing’s been decided because it’s all very sudden and we’ve had to deal firstly with the safety of the public.”

Mr Atkinson said they will stay open as long as they can.

“This week our revenue is probably down 40%,” he said.

“We will look at delivering if need be or roadside pick up so if people are nervous about coming in we can mitigate that by delivering to their houses in the Vic Park area or take it to the car outside.

“We aim to stay open as long as we can unless we are forced to close.”

Dark Horse Espresso, Victoria Park. Photo: Tyler Armenti.

Mrs Potter said there are no current cases in Victoria Park.

“People don’t have to isolate yet so it’s about being sensible in keeping your hands washed and keeping that distance between you,” she said.

“I’m not aware of any cases of COVID-19 in the town of Vic Park.

“That’s a great thing and we’d like to keep that.”

The State Government has announced a $114 million support package for small and medium businesses.

Mr Atkinson said the help is insignificant as there are a lot of businesses.

“For me the help is insignificant,” he said.

“There’s a lot of businesses out there so it doesn’t really go that far but they are doing what they can do, so can’t complain.

“People should support local businesses because when they are gone they’re not going to come back for a long time.”

Empty cafe’s along Albany Highway, Victoria Park. Photo: Tyler Armenti.