The list of hurdles'essential' businesses are fighting to stay open in coronavirus pandemic

Physios are deemed
Physios are deemed "essential" but are battling on many fronts during this pandemic. Photo: Shutterstock.

Businesses still classed as "essential" during the coronavirus epidemic are struggling to stay open as clients heed the advice to stay home.

With all local sporting competitions called off - and Olympic Games, world and national championships being delayed - physiotherapists are battling with the decision of whether they should close the doors.

While they do have other clients, athletes make up a significant portion of many businesses.

Melbourne physiotherapist Pat Young said rent and wage costs were the biggest issues.

"Patient numbers have significantly reduced, so it will likely reach a point where it may not be viable to keep the clinic open," he said.

The federal government's job keeper fund announcement on Monday was a welcome relief for the business, which if found to be eligible, will now be able to bring back the reception staff who it had been unable to afford.

The next issue is the rent.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked landlords and tenants to come up with a solution themselves.

We have contacted the real estate agent to have a pause in rent," Mr Young said.

"We have not heard back from them yet.

"Rent assistance or pausing is an area where government assistance would be beneficial, and unfortunately the government has not yet given us any indication who will be eligible for such assistance therefore adding to more stress."

Telehealth may be the answer to being able to conduct essential appointments with clients.

"A lot of our role, including assessment, diagnosis, education, self management techniques and rehabilitation exercises can be offered via telehealth," Mr Young said.

"We have set this up over the past week and will roll this out from next week.

"Hopefully this will help with turnover to keep the business running and our ability to continue to provide a service to the community with safe distancing."

He said it was good news that there will be private health rebates for telehealth appointments from April 14.

Australian Physiotherapy Association national president Phil Calvert said members should check with their health fund to see if they will cover tele-physiotherapy consultations.

"Physio telehealth has been used in a variety of settings for some time. It is safe, it is effective and it is the right thing to do to reduce infection rates in our communities," he said.

"We thank PHA and its members for getting on board so quickly to help us do our bit to keep Australians moving and pain free from the safety of their own homes."

If you're looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, sign up for our twice-daily digest here.

This story The list of hurdles 'essential' businesses are fighting to stay open first appeared on The Canberra Times.