Former MasterChef star Matt Sinclair has teared up while announcing the sad news that his restaurant, Sum Yung Guys has been forced to close at the busiest time of the year due to a Covid case.
The 2016 season runner-up revealed that his 25-person staff were required to get tested and isolate for seven days after a close contact was traced to the Asian eatery in Noosaville, Queensland.
MasterChef star 'shuts restaurant'
Matt, who co-owns the restaurant with friend Moe Rickard, was visibly emotional while explaining the 'heartbreaking' situation in a four-minute-long video he uploaded to his Instagram page on Wednesday.
"So here we are guys, we're one week into the Queensland borders reopening and we have to shut Sum Yung Guys," he began.
"There was a close contact traced to the restaurant and the whole crew on that night now has to be tested and whether or not it's a negative or a positive, they have to isolate for seven days," he added.
According to reports by news.com.au, Sum Yung Guys co-owner, Moe Rickard confirmed a staffer had tested positive for Covid after working on Sunday.
'Not the roadmap we saw coming'
Matt said that without the full complement of staff he couldn't 'run a restaurant anymore' leaving him uncertain as to the future of the business.
He also pointed to the ongoing shortage of hospitality workers which is largely due to the travel ban on international students and other visa holders who would normally bolster the industry during busy times such as Christmas and New Year.
"It's not really the roadmap that we saw coming out of the borders reopening and the rebirth of the Queensland economy, getting businesses going again," Matt reflected.
He said that Sum Yung Guys had had to 'lose staff' and 'turn away' customers due to the state's double vaccination mandate for hospitality workers and patrons.
"For what? I don't know right now, because we've kind of ended up in the same place," Matt said.
The reality TV star choked up while talking about how his staff would no longer be able to spend Christmas with family and friends who had travelled to Queensland from other states since the borders reopened on December 13.
"Now we have to close our business for a week in the lead up to Christmas, the biggest week of the year in hospitality [...] and the knock-on effect and the ramifications that that has for our staff... is enormous," Matt said holding back tears.
He said he also felt sad for the diners who had booked in 'months ago' but would now have their bookings cancelled.
"There's nothing we can do right now, our hands are tied. We've tried to speak to as many people as possible to get some answers and it's basically the same thing. When we asked what happens after this week if we reopen and we get another case? Same deal," he added.
Matt explained that he'd been tested earlier that day along with 'hundreds' of other locals as the state's daily case numbers tipped into triple figures for the first time ever.
"I'll keep you all posted but it's really sad, sad news to deliver [...] I know there's a lot of people out there doing it a lot worse, but I just felt that I needed to sort of stand up and say something and just deliver it from our point of view and try and inform you as to what's happening," he said before signing off.
Matt's fellow celebrity chefs and other famous faces took to the comments to share their sympathy and vent their outrage at the news.
"So sorry Matty we can hear and see how broken you are for your restaurant but also the team and families xxxx big hugs legend," wrote pastry queen Anna Polyviou.
"Sorry brother," added chef and MKR judge Manu Feildel while MasterChef 2017 winner Diana Chan wrote, "Hang in there bud".
Channel 7 newsreader Kendall Gilding exclaimed, "Total BS! We can’t keep shifting the goal posts! I’m sorry this is happening to you & all the SYG team Matt!"
Matt has been contacted for comment.
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