The impact of COVID-19 continues to hit hospitality hardest. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows one in three paid jobs in the industry were lost between mid-March and mid-April.

Across the board, total employee jobs decreased by 7.5 percent while total wages paid by employers decreased by 8.2 percent between 14 March and 18 April.

“The industries which lost the most jobs continued to be Accommodation and food services (-33.4 percent) and Arts and recreation services (-27.0 percent),” said Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS.

“Job losses in Accommodation and food services were greatest in South Australia (-39.7 percent) and Victoria (-35.6 percent).

“The new data shows that jobs in Accommodation and food services worked by people aged 20-29 and people over 70 decreased the most (-40.8 percent and -43.7 percent).”

The ABS’ Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia report showed job losses totalled 33.4 percent in NSW, 32.7 percent in ACT, 32.3 percent in Tasmania, 31.5 percent in WA, 30.1 percent in Queensland and 29.2 percent in NT.

Total wages in the industry decreased by 30.3 percent between 14 March and 18 April.

While the industry has been hard hit, there is a light at the end of the end of the tunnel with National Cabinet meeting on Friday 8 May to discuss the gradual removal of restrictions. At the government’s request, the Restaurant & Catering Association has prepared a list of guidelines for reopening venues, with CEO Wes Lambert hopeful we’ll see movement in June.

Venues in the Northern Territory are set to open as soon as Friday 15 May. Some restaurants that initially closed completely, have already began to reopen, with large employers such as Merivale and The Star adding new services to keep staff on the books. Restaurants, cafes and bars across Australia have pivoted quickly to introduce initiatives aimed at supporting hospitality workers, either through employment or other offers such as free meals.


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