THE fourth-wave lockdown will “break some businesses”, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today (Thursday, May 27).

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said the chamber stood ready to help any business affected by the shutdowns and invited them to make contact to access support.

Construction and manufacturing will remain operational. Hospitality venues will only be able to offer delivery and takeaway. Beauty and personal services, entertainment, tourism, events and cultural venues will need to close and community sport will need to be cancelled.

This fourth-wave lockdown will be devastating for business because there are no supports like JobKeeper or rent relief this time around,” Mr Guerra said.

“We estimated that the five-day Valentine’s Day lockdown cost Victorian business more than $1 billion so we are looking at a hit of around $1 billion this time around, and that’s if it remains confined to the seven days.

“The Victorian Chamber will be advocating for a substantial assistance package for impacted businesses.

“This lockdown will break some businesses, no doubt about it. So many were just hanging on by a thread and that thread has now been severed. The cost is not only monetary, there’s also the huge cost of jobs, confidence and reputation. We have taken a massive hit today about how we will be viewed on a national scale.

“All Victorians deserve better. Ironically, it was one year ago yesterday when COVID-19 escaped hotel quarantine prompting the start of our second wave, and here we are again facing a debilitating lockdown because the virus has again escaped and spread. Why does this keep to happening to us while other states manage it differently and effectively?

“Clearly the hotel quarantine and contact tracing systems have let us down again and the vaccine rollout has been way too slow. We’ve had months to get this right and Victorian businesses are once again paying the price. The Victorian business community is tired of the excuses.”