Yarrawonga Chronicle

Lockdown eased but border shutdown remains

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Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra said the decision has left businesses across the border reeling, with yet another strain being placed on their operations and ability to trade viably.

“We know how these border communitie­s co-exist, and the reliance they have on each other. We need to find a solution, and quickly, that can provide both the ability for the towns to operate and to restrain the virus from creeping into Victoria,” Mr Guerra said.

“There are possibly many solutions, but the chamber has been advocating for the border to temporaril­y extend 10km into Victoria for NSW for the purposes of COVID-19 restrictio­ns, which would mean that border town residents and workers can continue to travel between towns.

“We recognise this is a complicate­d situation and government­s have to make decisions to protect Victoria and public health, especially from the Delta variant, but this is a unique situation that requires a tailored solution – it’s not a one size fits all,” Mr Guerra added.

“Businesses on the NSW side are in desperate need of trade from the Victorian side, much the same way that Victorian businesses suffered from a lack of customers from NSW last year.

“These are regional areas that have seen very little or no COVID-19 cases, so it doesn’t make sense to restrict them even further from trading in a viable way.”

Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said the latest border restrictio­ns have had a huge effect on businesses in Mulwala.

“As 80% of our revenue comes from over the border (Victoria) we are effectivel­y down by 80%,” Mr Duncan said.

“This has had an impact on our staff as wages have had to be scaled back accordingl­y. We will continue to keep the club open and share the available work hours with our staff.

“We are mindful of the mental wellness of our staff and our local members who still look forward to their social activities.

“It is very disappoint­ing that with no cases of COVID-19 in our area or for that matter in the bubble we have to pay the price of covid in the cities.

“I don’t think the premiers understand the impact their decision of “one size fits all” has on border residents.”

Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort CEO Peter Savy said when the announceme­nt of tighter border restrictio­ns were announced YMGCR had to reduce hours and even shut doors due to loss of trade.

“The restrictio­ns have been slowly whittling away our visitor traffic over the past month to six weeks,” Mr Savy said.

“When Victoria changed Mulwala from various coloured zones in early July, it instantly cut off 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.”

Burkes Hotel Motel owner Andrew Curran said all the different lockdowns that have been thrust upon the area in the past 18 months have caused some difficulty.

“So many levels of these lockdowns have effected us,” Mr Curran said. “This last Victorian one was catastroph­ic with the timing of it just being madness.

“It is doing nothing for the confidence of consumers and has been horrible for businesses with so much uncertaint­y.”

Under the changes, border bubble residents can only cross the border to enter Victoria without a permit for 10 reasons including:

• Necessary goods and services, including medical care and getting a COVID-19 test

• Care and compassion­ate reasons

• Paid or voluntary work (including for charitable and religious purposes)

• Education (including childcare and early childhood services)

Getting a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n

Sport and exercise at a sporting club or at a sport or physical recreation facility (excluding alpine resorts)

Visiting an intimate partner

Moving house, inspecting a property or attending an auction

• Driving someone who cannot drive themselves for one of the above reasons

• Travelling between places in Victoria where it is easier to travel through NSW.

Despite the easing of lockdown restrictio­ns in regional Victoria from Monday night (August 9), border towns are still struggling with the Victoria-NSW border bubble’s tightened restrictio­ns.

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