Today’s public holiday costs the economy almost $2 billion, as shops close and tradies down tools

One economist estimates today’s one-off holiday to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II will cost Australia’s economy nearly $2 billion in lost productivity.

Sole proprietor Norma Dann is a microcosm of this economic toll.

When the holiday was declared 11 days ago, the self-employed craftswoman was faced with the decision of whether to stick to the planned work. Some had been booked by customers months before.

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“It’s just very difficult to juggle these things on such short notice,” Norma said.

While she has “mixed feelings” about the reason for the holiday, Norma ultimately decided to give herself and her contractor Lauren the day off.

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“It’s a welcome (day off) because we’ve been very busy. However, it comes at a price,” she said.

“We had to reschedule a lot of customers and these people have been waiting. And then the next availability is three to four weeks away. So it was just a very tedious juggling.

“It will cost several hundred dollars (each lost).

A bank holiday trading hours sign in an op shop window stating the shop is closed for Thursday and Friday
Many shops are not open today.(ABC News: Emilia Terzon)

Across the country, other companies, from banks and shops to construction companies, have made the same decision as Norma’s company, Ms Fixet.

This prompted economist Stephen Koukoulas to headline nearly $2 billion in lost economic output.

“The loss represents the fact that stores are actually closed,” he told ABC News.

“Things just don’t get done that might otherwise have gotten done.

“They won’t work as well for many small business owners like electricians, carpenters and plumbers. So that means they will lose income on that particular day.

“Car repairs and all these types of problems are being postponed and causing some backlog and real headaches for people who have to reorganize their affairs around it.

“It also means that a lot of services like healthcare, as we’ve heard over the last week or two, have to postpone things like surgeries. And although obviously everything will be made up for at a later date, it is very disruptive for the economy.”

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