Tradies remain essential to region amid virus concern
TRADIES on the Southern Downs have started to feel the crunch of coronavirus but are yet to be told its tools down.
While many businesses have been forced to close their doors or reduce their hours as a result of the virus, many tradies say they are taking it day-by-day to ensure business survives.
Subzero Airconditioning Installation and Service owner William McVeigh has noticed a downturn in demand from commercial and residential clients.
"It's definitely quietened down - we are definitely noticing quite a large impact in our commercial sector," Mr McVeigh said.
"A lot of restaurants, clubs and bars unfortunately have other expenses they are more concerned with at the moment then maintaining airconditioning units.
"Even our day-to-day; people have more important things to be concerned about."
For many, airconditioning is a luxury according to Mr McVeigh, who said his business would become reliant on commercial contracts during the quiet period.
"We have commercial clients who have jobs in the pipeline which are keeping us going," he said.
"Unfortunately, it's (airconditioning) something we've found people aren't requiring as much at the moment.
"They can put it off until we get through the worst of it."
With a number of people now working from home, Mr McVeigh is hopeful his clients don't head down the 'do it yourself' route with airconditioning units.
"As a licensed trade, we highly recommend people don't DIY," he said.
"We do find that people try to DIY, and nine times out of 10, it won't work out for them.
"They'll cause more damage to the system and hurt themselves."
Warwick Outdoor Improvements owner Health Albrand is also hopeful people don't DIY their outdoor needs.
"It is what it is, and people are more likely to DIY if they can," Mr Albrand said.
"Hopefully, they can keep notes and we can tick them off when times are greener."
One of many small businesses in the trade industry affected by the new virus regulations, Mr Albrand has implemented stringent measures to ensure his business meets health requirements.
"Most of the work we do is outside 95 per cent of the time," he said.
'And we're a small work force, so it's easy to keep a handle on things.
"We're just trying to keep out hands clean and keep within in those social distancing measures; it really is a lot of common sense."
The trade industry remains an essential service across Australia, and if shut down would have "huge" consequences.
"It would be crippling," Mr McVeigh said.
"There are a lot of livelihoods at stake; not just the big businesses but it's the small bugs too.
"A lot of these (financial) packages are great and for us it would be a massive help, but the shutdown would be detrimental to the entire trade industry.
"As long as the safety measures are put in place, I think we'd be right to continue as an essential service.
"But all it could take is for one job site to be shut down because of the virus, and potentially that could be it for everyone."