Clouds loom over Brisbane businesses ahead of New Year’s Eve


By Jessica Perkins

Brisbane businesses are in limbo as they wait to hear whether this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display will go ahead.

The city’s celebrations usually bring in tens of thousands of visitors, but businesses fear revenue losses if the popular event is cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Brooklyn Depot South Bank assistant manager Melissa Leary said the cancellation of the fireworks would “cut off” a large number of family celebrations in South Bank.

“Not having midnight fireworks, any events on up late at night, it’s going to deter people from even coming to South Bank or going out that late at night,” Ms Leary said.

“In the restaurant itself, we are going to see an incredible decrease of customers, and especially families, coming in.

“It’s going to be completely quiet, I think, compared to normal.”

Riverside Hotel is usually fully booked over the New Year weekend.

Duty manager Luiz Prebianca said although he was concerned about the revenue impact this year, the immediate health concern was more important.

“If the price we have to pay as a business is a slow New Year’s Eve, and the result of that would be that everything is reopen in three months instead of six months, that’s a price we’d be happy to pay,” Mr Prebianca said.

Thousands gather along Brisbane River to watch the New Year's Eve firework display each year, but will it be empty skies as we say goodbye to 2020?

Thousands gather along Brisbane River to watch the New Year’s Eve firework display each year, but will it be empty skies as we say goodbye to 2020? Credit: Jessica Perkins

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said businesses across the board would feel the impact if tourists stayed away.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said it was too early to make a call on the fireworks or what form the celebrations would take this year.

However he said they would work within Queensland Health guidelines to deliver the “best possible celebration” they could.

“We want the fireworks to go ahead and I know many Brisbane residents are looking forward to New Year’s Eve celebrations, perhaps more than they ever have before, given the extraordinary year we have had,” Cr Schrinner said.


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