A small business associated with weddings is facing tough times as the government takes actions to control the Coronavirus spread, one of them being putting restrictions on gatherings such as weddings with no more than five people allowed.
In his office at Hornsby suburb in Sydney, Tahir Farooq is visualising new designs and concepts while trying to ignore the recent drastic changes in the industry he works in.
The small business owner design themes for wedding functions, corporate events and social gatherings.
The past few weeks have seen a rapid decline of his work with the government restrictions on gatherings reducing from initial 500 individuals down to 100 individuals and now wedding events only being allowed a total of 5 people.
Major decline in the wedding activities resulting in reduced business
Wedding Planning Association Of Australia says Covid-19 has a devastating effect on wedding planners
Small Business Association of Australia calling the current situation a 'disaster'
The owner of Taj Mahal events says there has been a sudden jump in the cancellation of events creating uncertainty about the future.
“A lot of my work is with the state and local governments which is severely affected, but the wedding work has come to a complete halt.
The wedding business right now is dead; no work, no money.
“Many events such as weddings, corporate exhibitions, and business functions have been postponed, other cancelled altogether after the government restrictions to curb the virus spread.
“Large private gatherings have also ceased that is one particular niche that we rely on in tough times.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
One of them being weddings in Australia that are allowed to go ahead with maximum five people, the couple getting married, the celebrant and the witnesses.
“That’s no more than five people,” PM told the media.
“Large gatherings for weddings won’t be possible.”
Paula Barham, head of the Wedding Planning Association Of Australia says many people are distraught over COVID-19.
"Many have had to cancel their weddings while others are not prepared to do a civil ceremony with just two witnesses.
"Reception venues are giving people the option of a full refund or a credit. This has had a devastating effect on wedding planners and their business.
People are predicting a shutdown and planning for the future.
"We have had an increase in enquiries for our online courses the past week."
Anne Nalder, Founder of the Small Business Association in Australia says the prevailing situation in the country is a "disaster" for a large number of small businesses whether micro, small or medium-sized.
"The wedding industry and those related to the industry will find their businesses greatly reduced especially as the state borders are closing.
"Without sounding negative the reality is that many businesses will go to the wall through no fault of their own.
"The smaller players will be badly hit. Whilst they can access the Centrelink payment there are conditions meaning for example – if one partner is a salaried employee and the partner is a sole trader.
"Let’s presume only the sole trader suffers a downturn, due to one partner earning above the $1000, the other partner cannot claim the $500 meaning that little business person gets nothing with the couple having a reduced income."
This too shall pass
Tahir says the loss of business is understandable in this situation but he is not afraid and doesn’t plan to lose to the pandemic.
“Fear of the unknown exists but the nature of our industry is not easy too and we are always on the lookout for new business with tight deadlines, the business cycle also varies with good and not so good days.
One of the challenges of the designers is to keep ahead of the fashion trends and work on new designs for wedding seasons.
However, Tahir says whilst the business is hitting rock bottom, it is the time to switch gears and focus on research.
“The design industry is very competitive. Everyone wants to see and experience new designs at their events.
“As we are low on business activity, we have decided to move to R&D and plan for future work.”
We will not to sit idle and do nothing during a lean patch.
However, Tahir is hopeful of the future and believes the government is making the right decisions to control the virus spread.
“I am content that I am living in a country where the government is actively dealing with the outbreak and taking care of the people in hardship."
Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government's website. Symptoms can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
If you develop symptoms within 14 days of returning from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, you should seek medical attention.
If you believe you may need to get tested, call your doctor or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
Find more news and information on Coronavirus from https://www.sbs.com.au/language/urdu/coronavirus-updates