With just over 24 hours to go until the end of Melbourne’s five-day lockdown – or until it’s extended –  the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has called for the Victorian government to provide compensation to the state’s small business owners.

Ms Carnell has described the lockdown as “heartbreaking” especially for those businesses that were set to capitalise on Valentine’s Day sales. Ms Carnell says the government needs to urgently compensate small businesses forced to close their doors on one of the busiest holidays of the year.

Ms Carnell says the lack of notice should be reason enough for a compensation package for those businesses, including salons. “Unfortunately, this snap lockdown means thousands of Victorian small businesses need to shut up shop for five days without any notice,” she said.

“The compensation should also cover all other costs associated with running a business including staff wages and rent. It is impossible for small businesses to plan for sudden lockdowns and the timing of this one – coinciding with Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year celebrations – could not be worse.”

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