South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said a round of $10,000 cash grants to struggling small businesses were being paid on Monday, and were designed to work in combination with the Federal Government’s economic assistance programs.

“This works hand in glove with the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program,” Mr Marshall said.

It was part of an overall $1 billion state government stimulus program. He said people in the state had been diligent in following instructions from medical authorities and governments. But that had resulted in an economic crisis,” Mr Marshall said.

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Dr Cooper said the hospitality industry had been particularly hard hit.

Coopers Brewery, which has a national market share of 5 per cent in the beer market, behind brewing giants Carlton & United Breweries, and Lion, had withdrawn 10,000 kegs from circulation after hotels and bars were shut down in March by Federal Government restrictions.

Dr Cooper said packaged beer sales at Coopers had jumped about 40 per cent in March because of stockpiling by households at liquor retailing stores, but that had plunged by 30 per cent in April.

Medical experts would need to be listened to, but it may be the case that societies would need to navigate through an extended period where there was still some cases of coronavirus emerging, he said.

But having no new cases for 12 days was a positive step, and gave extra confidence that a return toward normal could be achieved in a phased restart.

“This is our hope,” he said.

Clint Feuerherdt, the chief executive of ASX-listed SeaLink Travel Group, which runs ferry services to tourism hot spot Kangaroo Island, along with temporarily halted Captain Cook Cruises on Sydney Harbour, said he was hopeful there could be a restart of intra-state tourism soon.

He said it was very difficult to make firm plans around when a potential marketing campaign might begin, but the signs were looking better.

“We’re having to rewrite our rule book and our play book each day,” Mr Feuerherdt said.

“No textbook can teach you how to run things”.

It would be a logical step to lift restrictions on intra-state travel first, with Kangaroo Island a popular spot for people from Adelaide and other country areas on the mainland.

Interstate travel might be next but would require border controls to be lifted. But the prospect of having any international visitors was a long way off.

“International travel is going to be well down the line,” he said.

Kangaroo Island is suffering a second big blow, with devastating bushfires having destroyed almost half of the island’s pristine bushland in early January.

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Simon Evans writes on business specialising in retail, manufacturing, beverages, mining and M&A. He is based in Adelaide. Connect with Simon on Twitter. Email Simon at simon.evans@afr.com

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