Business owner says 'vital' staff affected by school closure

A BOWEN mother and businesswoman says two "vital" staff members will be affected after the Queensland Government announced schools will be student-free from next week.

From Monday, schools will have five student-free days meaning the Term 1 break will start early and students will not attend school unless they are children of essential workers or vulnerable children, such as those in out-of-home care.

Le Sorelle The Sisters Coffee House owner Alexandra Sinclair said they were already in a fragile position and the decision would affect two "critical" roles in the business now.

"I'm very blessed that my mother-in-law actually got stuck here with the travel restrictions, but otherwise it would have had a significant impact, I would have had to bring my kids to work," she said

"It will affect my staff though, two really vital, critical roles will be affected."

With growing financial uncertainty in Australia and a drastically reduced customer base, Mrs Sinclair said the business had realised, and discussed with staff, the reality of having to cut back on employees.

"We are definitely in that position, we are giving it a week to make it work but we can't sustain the pay for everyone," she said.

"We've already sat down with the staff to discuss the situation.

"This business supports the three of us (sisters), our families and husbands, if we are all here working then there's nothing else for anyone to do at the moment."

Mrs Sinclair said staff with children may be in a better situation to receive government assistance, than staff members who don't.

"See the people who have kids, they can get centrelink help," she said.

"It's so hard, they are the people that you need but also they are able to get subsidies from the government, when others can't. It is really hard to be eligible."

What makes the situation harder is the lack of certainty on the timeline or final outcome, Mrs Sinclair said.

"What's hard is we are trying to plan but we don't know the timeline, are we planning for a month, six months, are we even going to be able to trade?" she said.

"In New Zealand, food outlets can't even do delivery now, there is just so much uncertainty."

Mrs Sinclair said the business "would not go down without a fight" but were facing the realisation that it may be easier to close.

"There are businesses who will thrive, we are not one of them," she said.

"It may just be easier to close our doors."

Essential workers are defined as those who must continue to attend work, with supervision being provided at schools where required until April 3, when the school break was set to begin.

Schools are set to reopen as planned on April 20, unless further government health announcements are made.


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