Local businesses are hoping that Premier Daniel Andrews can admit a mistake and withdraw the grand final holiday by next September.
Companies surveyed by CBD News were almost all universally damning of the holiday.
Only William St barber Ibrahim El Osman was mildly supportive. “City was quieter but we did OK,” he said.
“But there was less trade than a normal Friday as offices were closed.”
At the other end of the scale was Lauren Bennett of Rare Steakhouse who said the holiday was “the worst idea ever”.
“With any luck, they’ll figure it out and cancel it for next year – not sure how they will do it and still save face,” she said.
Ms Bennett said her Friday lunch trade dropped from 70 to just three people and, while Friday dinner was good, Saturday night trade was down by about half. She said a Monday holiday would be preferable.
“Friday is the busiest day of the week and is the bulk of a business’s takings. If we closed, we would risk affecting our good will,” she said.
“The staff were kept as skeleton crew which could affect quality of service, so it really does not benefit staff either – they either lose a day’s wages or are forced to come to work for a short shift.”
Snap Printing’s Simon Morcom said the holiday hurt his business.
“It created a terrible rushed disruption to the working week and coupled with school holidays seriously affected our turnover,” Mr Morcom said.
Lawyer Glenn Harvey said: “All l can really say is that the holiday cost us lost income (as no productivity ) and extra expense due to still having to pay staff (like most businesses) and we don’t support it at all.”
Corporate caterer Duncan Scudamore said: “We closed for the day as penalty rates would require us to almost double our sales on the day to make it worthwhile to open.”
“Our sales figure for the week was 30 per cent less than our normal weekly sales.
Our casual staff lost 35 per cent of their normal hours for the week – something they can ill afford.”
“Clearly the State Government has no idea financially and is anti business.”
“While the Government will talk about hotel occupancies improving over the holiday, restaurants being busier etc, they neglect to take into account the profitability of the operations on the public holidays.”
“Due to public holiday loadings, most businesses are merely remaining open to pay the staff, not to make a profit on those public holidays – it’s just not possible to make a profit when one of your major expense lines increases by 150 per cent.”
Property Council executive director Jennifer Cunich said the holiday was an unnecessary cost burden on the Victorian economy.
“No government has ever created more jobs by increasing the cost burden on small business,” Ms Cunich said.
“This additional public holiday has hurt Victoria’s small business owners with many being forced to close or absorb losses on the day. While we recognise the value to families in the outer suburbs being able venture into the city to participate in the Grand Final Parade, the price is simply too high.”
Raine and Horne Victoria managing director Randolph Clements said: “Victoria is the land of entitlements and public holidays. It’s the reason why India and China are overtaking the western world. It’s the reason why the world can produce, manufacture and have the goods shipped or have air expressed across cheaper within days.”
“We should have a public holiday for not only Melbourne Cup or Grand Final but as well the finals of the Australian Open Tennis and golf, NRL rugby, not to mention Australian Grand Prix (perhaps not, it’s not been around as long).”