by Peter Gardiner
IN PEREGIAN on Easter Sunday as elsewhere, there were dire predictions that cafes throughout the state would be penalty rates "ground zero” with doors closed in holidaymakers' faces.
Last week Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland was predicting many small businesses would close completely over the four-day Easter break or reduce their trading hours.
The gloomy forecast was triggered by the State Government introducing an extra public holiday this year for Easter Sunday.
CCIQ said last week small business owners were "bracing themselves for four consecutive public holidays - as well as two further public holidays in the following fortnight”.
The chamber's spokeswoman Kate Whittle said small businesses would be hit hard in the hip-pocket with Anzac Day followed by Labour Day.
"Businesses are looking at reducing their opening hours with some closing entirely over the long weekend,” Ms Whittle said.
The Noosa News visited Peregian, which is a microcosm of local holiday retailing, mid Sunday morning and found all the usual weekend traders open with the Peregian Markets adding an extra trading "vibe”.
However a quick chat with one retailer revealed the shop traders were working without extra staff, while the cafes and eateries were compensating by charging more to cover penalty rates.
"I think you'll find that all the shops are open here but the owners, just like me, are on rather than hiring staff,” said the retailer, who did not wish to be named.
"And the cafes here are charging a 15% surcharge for holiday penalty rates.
"It's not too bad, if I sell a few things then I'm ahead.”
She said most of her best trading came after the markets closed.
One shopper was unfazed by the holiday trading. She said she had bought her morning coffee at her usual cafe in the village the day before without any extra.
But most of the eateries were advertising surcharge rates. CCIQ estimates statewide, these businesses are estimated to lose $32 million in gross revenue.
"The total economic impact of the creation of an Easter Sunday public holiday for 2017 is estimated to cost the retail, accommodation and hospitality sectors $58.2 million,” a CCIQ spokesperson said.
"The creation of the Easter Sunday public holiday will see just under 5000 retail, accommodation and hospitality businesses across the state closing their doors on the Sunday.”
CCIQ surveys found that at least 12% of Queensland businesses which previously opened on Easter Sunday had been expected to close.