State and territory leaders are holding business and the economy to ransom by closing borders, according to John Chapman whose company runs stores, bars and restaurants at airports throughout Australia, including at Canberra Airport.
"It's quite stunning that individual premiers around the country can hold a major industry to ransom by opening and closing borders at their will," he told The Canberra Times.
The chief executive of Airport Retail Enterprises said his company created five new "food and beverage outlets" at Canberra Airport in November, including a bar to serve Capital Brewing Beer.
Only one of the venues is now open.
"The whole thing is a complete disaster," he said.
"We have virtually no business there after investing $4.5 million."
He also said that his company had not had help from the ACT government because the airport cafes and bars were classed as "related airport businesses" which were not entitled to the tax relief offered to cafes and bars in the city.
His company partnered with Canberra's Capital Brewing at the airport bar. Its managing director Laurence Kain said: "If there's not a lot of flights there's not a lot of people coming through to buy beer."
Mr Chapman said: "Any premier or prime minister who thinks they can have business starting and stopping like it's been going on - well, it's just nonsense."
He said the result of the closures of borders was that his 1,000 staff had been reduced to 380, and this remnant only because of JobKeeper.
Mr Chapman was amplifying the anger of the head of Canberra Airport, Stephen Byron.
"Every state is isolated and operating and making decisions separately so we do need to put the Federation back together. It's fragmented. People's lives - their mental health - is being affected by these shut-downs," Mr Byron said.
On Friday, the Prime Minister repeatedly emphasised that there were two crises under way: a health one and a looming economic one, but he steered clear of urging state and territory premiers to think harder about border closures which slow down the economy.
"We have got to keep managing this twin challenge of a health pandemic and a COVID-recession," Scott Morrison said.
He said the need was to "keep Australia open".
In other countries, particularly the United States and Britain, there has been a much louder debate about how to balance the needs of the economy against the need to control the coronavirus.
Both countries have worse records in terms of infections and deaths from the virus but also a more vocal lobby saying that the balance has to be moved more towards keeping business going and maintaining employment.
At the moment, the JobKeeper measures are keeping incomes up but some business leaders believe that the true cost of border closures will emerge when the support stops.