Allan is hoping for a Christmas recovery

St George Business Chamber president Allan Zreik in his shop at Westfield Hurstville said the key to recovery is to Buy Local.
St George Business Chamber president Allan Zreik in his shop at Westfield Hurstville said the key to recovery is to Buy Local.

St George Business Chamber president Allan Zreik said that in 32 years of trading in Hurstville he cannot remember a worse time.

Mr Zreik's business Zed and Zed Jewellers in Westfield Hurstville has been hit particularly hard by the impact of COVID-19 social restrictions.

"I think I am down close to 90 per cent," he said.

"Jewellery is the last thing people want to buy in a situation like this. There's been no weddings, christenings or birthday parties.

"We have never experienced anything like we have during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"It's been hard in the past but not as bad as it is now.

"It has been so quiet in the business centre of Hurstville and on Forest Road nothing was happening.

"The majority of small business people say business is down 80 to 85 per cent. If it wasn't for JobKeeper a lot of people would have lost their job.

"The decision by Qantas to lay-off 6,000 staff will have an effect on local retail.. A few of our customers are from Qantas land they haven't been in since the start of COVID."

Mr Zreik said the chamber is meeting with Georges River Council soon to work more strategies to see what can be done to help small businesses.

Last year the chamber started the Buy Local Campaign to encourage business and consumers to support locally-owned businesses and which was supported by Georges River and Bayside Councils and local MPs.

Mr Zreik said business recovery will hinge on buying local.

"It is still quiet but it is getting a little bit better," he said.

" We had a young couple come into the shop this week who are thinking of getting married next year, so they are starting to shop around.

"Let's hope that young people will starting shopping in the local retail outlets.

"If we can get through to Christmas we may be okay."

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