Melburnians spark anger on the coast
HUNDREDS of Melburnians who rushed to holiday homes along the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula to spend the next six weeks of lockdown are being urged to return home.
Corangamite MP Libby Coker is pleading with visitors to immediately leave their holiday homes and for the State Government to clarify stay at home orders as a second wave of COVID-19 worsens.
“On Wednesday we saw an influx of people fleeing to their beach houses to avoid the incoming stage 3 restrictions at 11.59pm,” Ms Coker said.
“This is unacceptable, especially when the Premier was very clear on Tuesday that people should not be leaving their primary place of residence.
“We have already had cases transmitted by visitors from Melbourne as I understand it.”
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Tuesday that there would be a lock down of all metropolitan Melbourne from Wednesday night for six weeks.
“This stay home direction will apply to your principal place of residence — that means no escaping to holiday homes,” Mr Andrews said.
City of Greater Geelong Cr Anthony Aitken said it was “extremely disappointing” to hear reports of Melburnians flocking to coastal houses hours ahead of the lockdown.
“They are putting our community at risk,” Cr Aitken said.
“We don’t have the same resources in terms of ICU beds and medical facilities as they in Melbourne.”
He said the behaviour was “selfish” and had created fears of a surge in COVID-19 community transmission among locals.
Businesses have an “obligation” to check IDs and refuse service to customers from Melbourne’s lockdown areas, the State Government said.
Uforic Food Cafe Torquay owner Lisa Cummins said the requirement forced local traders “to play bouncers”.
Mrs Cummins said she was completely unaware of the protocol until Friday after a customer informed her.
“Nothing had been communicated to us at all, and it’s not a minor a detail either,” she said.
“It’s a big responsibility for small businesses who already have a million other things to consider.”
Mrs Cummins said she had many regular customers from Melbourne “almost every weekend”.
“It’s a pretty hard to say to someone who has been customer for five years that I can’t serve you,” she said.
“I’ve been in this industry for nearly seven years and have never had to blatantly refuse service before.
“It leaves a cold feeling in your heart — we’re not designed to be bouncers, we’re there to welcome people.”
In a Facebook post on Friday, the Surf Coast Shire Council said there were reasons for visitors to “legitimately” be in the region.
The council said this included those who nominated their holiday home as their principal place of residence before the stay at home period.
“Now the period has begun, people are not allowed to change their principal place of residence for the six-week restriction period, and cannot move between properties,” the council said.
Senator Sarah Henderson said on Friday the region was in “a race against time to stop the imposition of lockdown restrictions”.
Senator Henderson urged locals to stay vigilant with social distancing and said the spike in active cases across the region meant “we cannot take anything for granted”.
NOT FOR YOU: Uforic Food Cafe owner Lisa Cummins has posted signs stating the cafe will refuse service to people from metropolitan Melbourne.