Mansfield Courier

Businesses bounce back

Return of the retailers forced to close after exposure site listing

- By SHAUN McMAHON

MANSFIELD has welcomed back local businesses who were forced to close after being listed by the Department of Health and Human Services as coronaviru­s exposure sites.

The Coffee Merchant recently re-opened following an extended two week closure after it was deemed a tier 1 exposure site.

‘The Merch’ was one of four local businesses which were visited by a person who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Foodworks, George and Al Roy, and the BP Truckstop on Mt Buller Road were all listed as tier 2 sites and required closing and deep cleaning before re-opening late last month.

News of the exposure sites swept the town on the morning of Wednesday, September 22 around the same time the earthquake hit, and had residents flocking to get tested.

Staff at the affected local businesses were required to get tested and isolate and all subsequent­ly received negative results.

A number of additional businesses, including the Delatite Hotel, Delatite Veterinary Clinic and Mansfield Golf Club, also closed temporaril­y for precaution­ary cleaning due to the attendance of a close contact.

No further positive cases were identified in the Mansfield Shire, but the impact on the local businesses was felt throughout the town, and not for the first time.

In late August, Oakbank Produce and the Bonnie Doon Central Roadhouse were similarly affected after being listed as tier 2 exposure sites

Last Thursday, The Coffee Merchant announced via their Facebook page: “The golden gates are re-opening and we will be back doing what we do best - making coffee and hassling all of you guys.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who reached out to help the staff in isolation, checking up on all of us, and supporting this business, even with us being shut and really just being the legends you are.

“It means a lot how much you care and love the Merchant and we are beyond grateful.”

The person who later tested positive also attended Foodworks, albeit briefly and had limited interactio­n with staff and shoppers.

The supermarke­t staff underwent isolation and testing, while Foodworks hired an outside company to perform a deep clean before reopening.

Khush Bakht Inam from George and Al Roy said they were notified firstly by the Mansfield Hospital’s Facebook post, and then later by the Department of Health.

“The Department of Health informed us that we had to close immediatel­y,

and that all of our staff had to be tested and isolate,” said Ms Inam.

“Not much informatio­n about testing and staff isolation was given; it was all quite up in the air.

“In regards to cleaning we were told that we needed a head-to-toe clean done profession­ally, and we went with locally-based Snow Angel Cleaning.

When George and Al Roy re-opened, they allowed people to dine in but everything was being served in takeaway containers until they got back on their feet.

“In terms of the community, everyone has been outstandin­g, all so considerat­e and eager to support us as soon as we re-opened,” said Ms Inam.

“The first day we reopened was one of the busiest days we’ve had over this last lockdown.”

With the BP Truckstop open again, too, Buller visitors can now stop, top up the fourbie and grab a battered sav from the bain-marie, if you’re that way inclined.

 ?? ?? WE’RE BACK: Jack Fleetwood from George and Al Roy serving coffees once again after they and three other local businesses closed after being listed as coronaviru­s exposure sites.
WE’RE BACK: Jack Fleetwood from George and Al Roy serving coffees once again after they and three other local businesses closed after being listed as coronaviru­s exposure sites.

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