18 MARCH 2020: The largest retail association in Australia Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA) is strongly urging the state and federal governments for swift small business support, and for landlords to suspend or heavily reduce rents to limit stress on local businesses to help them survive the financial devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chapel Street Precinct is not just doing it tough, some businesses won’t be able to make a cent given the new tough isolation restrictions just announced. Some venues have to close their doors today (right now) and are not able to trade through at all. 

This united front from over 2000+ businesses in the iconic urban metropolis of South Yarra, Windsor and Prahran is targeting landlords to make a difference for the future and ensure traders remain in a healthy position ready to go back to business as usual once the pandemic abates. This is a-one-in-a hundred-year event and much empathy for small business is needed right now, doors are closing and it may last many months.

Small businesses are on the frontline of this harrowing pandemic financially, and the next six months may obliterate them. Most Chapel Precinct retailers won’t make it past three months, given they are now having to promptly shut, without drastic help.

“We are pleading to the Australian Government for help and urging all landlords to suspend rents immediately until this crisis is behind us, or to at least reduce rents to an agreeable level.  Our retailers, restaurants and bars are coming up with genius ways to weather the storm, but many venues today have had to shut the doors,” said CSPA Chairperson, Mr. Justin O’Donnell.

“We all need to share the burden right now as a community and we need our landlords to assist us in the short term to ensure as many businesses survive through these trying times. If we all support each other we can make it through, without the support of our landlords a high percentage of businesses will struggle to survive, surely it’s better to share in the short term losses and support your tenants now than allow them all to go under and then be one of many landlords competing after all this is over for new tenants. With brave support now from the Australian Government and landlords we can recover much quicker than if we lose our businesses now as it may then take years to recover if at all.” Mr. O’Donnell said.

Chapel Street Precinct Association General Manager, Ms. Chrissie Maus, seriously echoed these sentiments.

This is just absolutely heartbreaking. We are a resilient community admired globally, but we need urgent help. As of today most of our entertainment venues won’t make a cent, doors are shut completely.  Whilst we have tackled many challenges before, the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and how we respond will be felt for decades to come. We must save Chapel Street Precinct.” said Ms. Maus.

“The Australian Government and Landlords play the most important role in the absolute survival of Chapel Precinct’s businesses and cultural standing.’’

They (Landlords) may experience some short term losses, but the significance of their contribution will be greatly appreciated – not just by the business owners who may not go under, but by the residents of Stonnington and the rest of Australia who love our iconic metropolis precinct. Together we will survive and come out of this stronger than ever before.”

As well as calling on the Australian Government and landlords for swift support, CSPA is also urging food delivery platforms like UberEats, Menulog and Deliveroo to slash their exorbitant fees in an effort to support local business. Or better yet, Chapel Street encourages residents to order take-out directly from one of its many fabulous eateries and enjoy a bigger, fresher and more delicious meal.

The Chapel Street Precinct is also pleading the public to support local businesses through this difficult time. They suggest purchasing a gift card from one of our many salons, boutique retailers or eateries for use in the future. This gives local vendors some income in the short term and gives you (and your friends and family) something to look forward to. Many of our local Chapel Street Precinct businesses will be more than happy to assist you with any shopping needs you require. Spend direct with them and pick up goods yourself, or organise an alternative directly with the vendor. It’s now more important than ever to support local anyway you can.

In partnership, the CSPA and the City of Stonnington are dealing with this health issue very closely, for up-to-date local information and how we together are managing the pandemic click here.

* Ends *

Media interviews

Drew Lambert | 0425 200 606 |

Please click below to download the PDF letter you can forward onto your landlord. 


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