Leave no small business behind

20-person limit.

Four square-metre rule.

1.5 metres apart.

No lingering after eating.

These are just some of the new social distancing rules set by the government that will take effect on Monday, May 18.

This COVIDSafe way of living has posed new challenges for small businesses who are already struggling to survive amid the pandemic.

Small businesses are already struggling. Image: Brianna Dugan.

Café owner Kylie Dugan says the new rules are impractical and illogical for her small café in Victoria Park, and they have forced her doors to stay closed for longer.

“The 20-person limit would have been fine for us to comply with, but adding the four-square metre rule is what is going to break us,” Ms Dugan says.

“Our café would only be able to seat five patrons at a time if we re-open following this.

“Those five people won’t make the business enough money to pay staff, let alone our overheads,” she says.

“It’s just very impractical and disheartening.”

On the other hand, The Sparrows Nest Café owner Lara Wolinski is excited and has been eagerly waiting for this day to come.

“Our business has definitely felt the effects of COVID-19, and staying open only for take-away has been a new challenge in itself,” Ms. Wolinksi says.

“We are doing all our preparations now for Monday.

“This includes taping off every second table, stocking up on sanitisers and spray and wipes, and putting crosses on the floor 1.5 metres apart,” she says.

“I am nervous to open as I do fear a second-wave type thing can happen, but I will do everything I can to keep my staff and business as clean as possible … I want my patrons to feel safe.”

Bespoke Café Owner Maureen Chadwani says her cafe is fortunate enough to have the square meterage that complies with the new social distancing rules.

“We have just over 300 square-metres … we have have the full occupancy of 20 people and still allow for take-away lines,” she says.

“We have a full strategy in place that will allow for 20 people to dine-in comfortably whilst still being 1.5 metre apart.

“The plan is practical for cafés like ours, but the smaller businesses will definitely struggle to comply if they can open at all,” Ms. Chadwani says.

The easing of restrictions is a part of a three step plan released by the government, with the end goal being COVIDSafe ways of living.

Three stage COVIDSafe plan. Image: supplied.