Merivale boss Justin Hemmes said he was “completely heartbroken” after closing down his more than 70 venues across Sydney and standing down the majority of his staff.
“I am completely heartbroken that this is happening but remain focused on the light at the end of the tunnel,” Hemmes told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It is a particularly devastating time for the hospitality industry, but nothing is more important than health. We wholeheartedly support government efforts to protect our country and will happily play our part to help stop the spread.”
All workers would remain employees of the group during the temporary shutdown, with most of the 3000-plus staff given a one-off payment of $550.
In addition, any employee suffering financial hardship as a result of the shutdown could apply for the group’s support program for a grant of up to $1000.