Lockdown lifted. But pain remains
Schools will return to face-to-face learning today after being forced to online learning at the start of term three.
Both secondary schools, Yarrawonga College P-12 and Sacred Heart College adapted well to online learning after experiencing this four times beforehand.
“I am very proud of how seriously our families have taken the Stay-at-Home orders that the State Government put in place,” Yarrawonga College P-12 Principal Damien Keel said.
“The college is always concerned for students and the restrictions aren’t what we wanted for them, their families and their teachers. We understand how difficult it is for students and their families and really empathise with them.
“Our doors are always open to on site learning for our more vulnerable students and those with a disability.”
Sacred Heart College Principal Lew Nagle added that the ability to communicate quickly and effectively through online assets enabled all preparations to be made in a timely manner.
“The fact that all students have a MacBook laptop that is well supported by a responsive ICT team is a great asset during times of remote learning,” Mr Nagle said.
“Extended periods of screen time and lack of social interaction and exercise can also negatively impact adolescent mental health.
“The college has moved to a modified timetable to promote exercise and less time on devices and our student councilor is always available for students to speak to.”
The hospitality industry is also one of the hardest hit with Burkes Hotel Motel Venue Manager Michelle Gardner saying this last lockdown has been the hardest yet but locals have been great in supporting them.
“With no job keeper and minimal business support it’s getting harder and harder each time, not just for us but every business and individual in this town,” Ms Gardner said.
“Each lockdown sees our casual staff with no work and no income with most of our casual staff having young families to support. It’s heart breaking to us each time having to tell them we have no work for them until we open back up.
“We’re so thankful to our wonderful locals supporting us over these tough lockdown times with our takeaway and deliveries we are able to remain open and stay connected with some of our fulltime and parttime staff and also the community - but this doesn’t pay the mounting bills, wages and everyday expenses still occurring during these lockdown times.
“This affects every business in our community so we hope to see some form of normality returning in the future so our small town can come out of this without losing any more shops or jobs.”
Showing that regardless of which state has restrictions both towns suffer, on the other side of the river our major clubs in Mulwala have also been caught up in the restrictions of both states with some areas of the clubs not open during the lockdown.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort CEO Peter Savy said although our area has had no cases in over a year, with other state governments deeming all of NSW different coloured zones, it was not viable for the whole resort to remain open.
“The developing restrictions have been slowly whittling away our visitor traffic over the past month, but last week was disastrous,” Mr Savy said.
“When Victoria changed Mulwala from a green to an orange zone on July 2, it instantly cut off our Melbourne and Victorian visitors, and of course, our most significant source of revenue. It’s just demoralising.
“It reached a point where it was no longer viable for us to open and staff our clubhouse for what is essentially just a small group of local NSW members.
“It’s now a case of taking it day by day and keeping our fingers crossed that the situation across the two states gets better.
“So, we’re trying our best to remain positive, be there for our people, and keep our golf course and facilities up to standard for when the visitors can return.”
Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said despite the downturn in trade the club will remain open with a reduced staff.
“We have been committed to stay open despite our trade being up to eighty per cent down mainly due to the Victorian statewide lockdown,” Mr Duncan said.
“For now it was important we had the doors open for not only our members but also the staff.
“Our members really value still being able to get together in a safe environment at the club and our staff have loved being able to still come to work.”
Judds Yarrawonga owner Michelle Clark said the last couple of circuit breakers which shut down most of the local businesses was shattering for all involved however last year’s lockdowns are very different to what is being experienced this year.
“Last year the governments job keeper and job seeker payments kept the economy rolling and many of us came out in a better position than expected with the increase in local tourism and the support of ‘shopping local’,” Mrs Clark said.
“Being able to have the doors open even in a limited capacity was much better than the blanket shutdowns we have been experiencing lately.
“The downturn in local wages with no real support from the government will continue to impact our local economy long past this current lockdown.
“We are very lucky to have a workwear and uniform side to our fashion business. “Our local building industry is booming which does ease the pain of many employers and employees in our area, which in turn keeps us going too.
“Our phones keep ringing, and our customers are supporting us where they can. “My staff and I are incredibly grateful to our local community for supporting and looking local first.
“Shopping local supports businesses, their staff, their local suppliers and the community. The flow on of local dollars runs much deeper than you may think. “Before you spend money online or out of town, please provide a local business the opportunity to quote or price match. You may be surprised by what you can find locally.”
On Friday, July 16 the Victorian Government announced another “circuit breaker” support package for the same businesses that were deemed eligible during lockdown four however it has been said that will do little to cover the losses and weeks of uncertainty, cancellations along with the lack of confidence that have plagued businesses in previous lockdowns.
For more information on the latest COVIDSafe settings please visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.
The above table is a summary of the new restriction in force in Victoria.