Moving to Canberra to open a new barber shop now closed by the pandemic lockdown, Ali Hagi is now watching and hoping each day may bring better news about businesses like his reopening.
But as tough as it is from a business perspective, he knows many other people are doing it tougher. News he regularly receives from family members living overseas provides him with a perspective others may not have.
"Even with this coronavirus and my businesses are closed, I'm trying to stay positive, you know?" he said.
"I still consider myself pretty lucky to be living in Australia.
"We don't know how good because we've got nothing to compare with.
"But I hear a lot about how things are elsewhere; I think when something like this happens, the reality of what other people have gone through and are still going through [overseas] really hits you."
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His mother left Australia to return to Lebanon to care for her sick sister just before the international borders shut and now can't return.
He said the regular reports he received were that "things really bad over there".
"We don't have rockets flying over our heads every day, we have fresh water from the tap, good food to eat," he said.
"Yes, it's tough times but I tell you, it could be much, much worse."
Buoyed by the success of his first ACT barbershop franchise, Dapper and Boss in Woden, he opened a second in the Canberra Centre. It was open for just six weeks before the coronavirus lockdown occurred.
He had moved to Canberra, fresh scissors in his kit, to kick-start the new shop only to find himself living here alone, away from friends and family in Sydney, walking around the lake, and "taking each day as it comes".
He has partnerships in other Dapper and Boss barber franchises in Wollongong and in Sydney's Randwick, both also caught in NSW's extended lockdown.
"Thankfully, the Canberra Centre has suspended my rent, and it's pretty much the same with my other businesses," he said.
"I put in my claim for the business compensation package so that will be helpful when it arrives.
"But the big unknown is, 'What happens when we come out of this. Will my landlords want to be backpaid'?
"That's a big financial uncertainty and I think a lot of small business people like me feel really vulnerable about that.
"That's a big financial stress ahead for people when they have been closed for so long."
The upside to the barber business, he said, was once he reopened he would be busier than Edward Scissorhands.
"People love a haircut; it makes them feel good. And people will be hanging out to get a haircut once this is over; I'll be working seven days a week to catch up," he said.
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