BY MADDISON JACKWAY
Monash University is being applauded by retailers for keeping campus businesses afloat during COVID-19, as they continue to adapt to stage four restrictions.
Current restrictions have proved detrimental to Monash University’s campus retailers, with only those that provide essential products or services remaining open.
Food and beverage outlets are also permitted to trade, but for takeaway only.
A Monash University spokesperson said it had implemented “a number of support strategies” for retailers and tenants.
“Prior to the announcement of the Federal Government’s rent support scheme, we had frozen all rent payments from March 2020,” the spokesperson said.
“Signage materials are in use, and are readily available for retailers and tenants, to help them enforce good hygiene practices and physical distancing in their areas.”
The Federal Government’s scheme has been implemented in Victoria through the commercial tenancy relief scheme which provides, among other things, that a landlord must offer some form of rent relief to tenants.
The spokesperson added the university is maintaining “close contact” with campus vendors to ensure “all their queries are answered”.
“Our vendors and retailers are an important part of the Monash community,” they said.
“We recognise the challenges they are experiencing and are doing all we can to ensure they receive the support they need.”
Flipboard Cafe owner Harry Tsiaples said the most challenging aspect of lockdown was transitioning from a profitable business to one “on life support” through JobKeeper and Monash University’s assistance.
“We’re turning over anywhere between eight and 10 per cent of our normal turnover,” Mr Tsiaples said.
“Especially the second lockdown now, it’s decimated the turnover.”
Flipboard Cafe has two outlets at Monash University’s Caulfield campus, and one at each of the Peninsula and Parkville campuses.
It also operates a restaurant and catering business, external to its Monash cafés.
Mr Tsiaples said the business had been affected “right across the board” at all locations due to COVID-19.
Despite his financial distress, Mr Tsiaples said he was “extremely happy” with the rental support Monash University has extended to Flipboard Cafe, labelling it “the main reason why [it’s] trading”.
“I expected [Monash University] to follow the guidelines of the regulations but I didn’t expect them to go over and above,” he said.
“And they have, and they’ve given us security in that space.”
Clayton’s Supernatural manager Mia Ye said her eatery had faced similar hardships, with fewer customers making it “difficult to afford everything”.
“I think [there are] 50 per cent less customers than usual,” Ms Ye said.
“Everything is very slow.”
Ms Ye also acknowledged the rent assistance Monash University has provided campus vendors, and said she is not required to pay rent until September.