Businesses divided over COVID-19 restrictions in roadmap out of Canberra's lockdown – ABC News

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There were mixed reactions from Canberra businesses in response to yesterday's unveiling of the roadmap out of lockdown. 
Restrictions will begin to ease this Friday before the lockdown is lifted on October 15 if the COVID situation in the capital does not deteriorate
Niche Power Performance owner Beth Cornforth was "relieved" to learn she would be able to open her gym on October 15 with a capacity limit of 25 clients or one person per 4 square metres. 
"Moving to an online platform was pretty tough and we only just made enough money during the lockdown to keep paying staff," she said. 
"We have really just been breaking even and we are hoping when the business support grant comes through, we will be able to cover our rent and overheads.
"I think it would have been extremely hard to stay open if this had gone on until December."
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Sassy Hair managing director Rebecca Guymer said she would need to restructure her hairdressing business in response to the ongoing restrictions
Hairdressers, beauty salons and personal services will be able to open with a five-customer limit.
"I am overwhelmed because even though I'm feeling elation that we finally have a pathway, we are still working out how that pathway is going to work.
"I think it will be a matter of keeping our heads above water but only just."
With three different salons operating under the one ABN, Ms Guymer said she spent the $20,000 business support grant money "in a couple of hours".
"It isn't enough to cover our expenses so we are looking at a good six months to get over all of this."
H20 MEDI SPA owner Lauren Scifleet said she was "very surprised" and grateful they would be able to reopen.
"A lot of us thought we were only going to start slowly opening up on November 1 and that would have been really tough for the industry.
"No one was expecting yesterday's announcement. We thought we were never getting out of it."
Anthony Brierley from the Australian Hotels Association's ACT branch said the eased restrictions are "virtually meaningless" for many operators in the hospitality industry. 
From October 15, licensed venues, cafes and restaurants can have up to 25 customers or one per 4 square metres – whichever is less. 
"Every day for the past six weeks, we have told the ACT Government the four square metre rule doesn't work for our industry," Mr Brierley said. 
"It is not viable to open with 25 people unless you are a tiny cafe, so it's really disappointing," he said.
"The Doherty Institute modelling states that the 2 square metre rule should apply when we move to medium public health social measures."
From October 29, hospitality venues will be able to operate with a maximum of 25 customers before density limits apply – one per 4 square metres or a maximum of 100 indoors and one per two square metres or a maximum of 150 people outdoors. 
Up to 500 people will be allowed at ticketed and seated events. 
Canberra Martial Arts and Fitness owner Tom Adam said it was unfair that licensed venues were allowed up to 100 people from October 29.
"And why can a seated venue have 500 people, but we can only have 20 people dancing or doing martial arts?
"For me that is about 20 per cent capacity but I still have all the costs."
ABC News: Selby Stewart
Mr Adam, who is also the president of the Phillip Business Community, called on the government to provide more financial help. 
"If we are having our capacity still limited by as much as 80 per cent until the end of November or early December, we will need funding to continue for the fitness, martial arts and movement clubs."
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT's pathway forward had been informed by national and local modelling on the impact COVID-19 will have on case numbers and hospitalisation.
He said the pathway would ensure the territory makes gradual and safe steps towards a better Christmas and summer holiday period.
A further easing of restrictions will be considered once more than 90 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated.
This could include easing venue density limits and increasing household and outdoor gathering sizes.
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