At long last, a path out of lockdown was revealed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after last Friday’s national cabinet meeting. The plan was welcomed by industry leaders who have been calling for the government to provide a roadmap out of lockdown.
Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long said: “The Accommodation Association along with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and several other peak bodies have been calling for National Cabinet to release its roadmap to recovery and we welcome the common-sense approach outlined in today’s four-stage plan.”
“We look forward to continuing to work with Government at all levels as we work towards establishing key milestones in learning to live safely with COVID within a more normal framework.”
Just last week, Ovolo Group ANZ Managing Director Dave Baswal told us: “Unfortunately, so far the government approach to the re-opening of international borders has been ad hoc.
“We need clear leadership and guidelines, more than anything businesses and investors need a plan but at the moment there isn’t one to follow.”
However, the latest government announcement has been applauded.
The Prime Minister said: “The good news I have for Australians who are subject to restrictions today is we have agreed a new deal for Australians on the pathway out of Covid-19.
“A pathway from a pre-vaccination period which is focused on the suppression of the virus, on community transmission cases, to one that sees us manage Covid-19 as an infectious disease like any other in our community.”
Mr Morrison advised that state and territory leaders had agreed to a four-phase plan tied to vaccination thresholds for over-16s:
- PHASE 1: Reaching a certain vaccination threshold after offering all Australians the chance to get the vaccine
- PHASE 2: Post-vaccination phase where focus shifts from suppressing the virus to minimising serious illness and death
- PHASE 3: Consolidation phase where health authorities manage Covid-19 similar to other infectious diseases like the flu
- PHASE 4: Complete return to normal with no lockdowns or border closures, and quarantine only for unvaccinated travellers
He clarified: “The first phase is the one we are in – vaccinate, prepare and pilot.”
Applauding the plan the Accommodation Association says the international travel ban has significantly impacted metropolitan hotels particularly those in the international hubs of Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney hotels are currently at sub 2 percent occupancy and facing at least 50 percent cancellation rates all the way through to August as a result of the most recent state and territory border closures and restrictions.
Mr Long said: “Our sector more than most has been heavily hit as a result of the international travel ban and the ongoing domestic border closures and restrictions. Our people and our properties, especially those hotels and accommodation providers in Sydney and Melbourne, have been under immense pressure and today’s announcement means we can all breathe a little easier because an end is now in sight.
“Hotel quarantine has been critically important to allow thousands of Australians return home. Our members look forward to working with the Government to ensure all Australians that wish to return home can.”
“We welcome the enhanced vaccination rollout, and we encourage all Australians to get vaccinated so that we can all get back to living and travelling sooner rather than later.”