This one is “devastating”
Mulwala businesses and residents who have suffered time and time again from Victorian lockdowns and border restrictions said the NSW seven-day state-wide lockdown enforced last Saturday hurts the most describing it as “devastating”.
The new stay-at-home orders for NSW which were announced just after 2pm on Saturday, to come into effect just a few hours later from 5pm, were introduced following updated health advice from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant.
The NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro described the lockdown to be a “hard and fast” measure but has not said if it will be extended to 14 days with COVID-19 cases still rising in NSW.
Many Mulwala business were suddenly forced to close their doors, cancel reservations, provide refunds and throw out pre-prepared food while at the same informing their employees not to come to work.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort’s CEO Peter Savy described the latest lockdown, this time by the NSW Government, as “devastating”.
“It’s something we didn’t need. You can’t plan anything. As soon as you start planning there’s another lockdown, with cancellations, refunds. It’s very disappointing,” Mr Savy said.
“We’ve cancelled our September Tournament (five-day 1,000 entries tournament). Golf can be played here by locals, with competitions in twos, social distancing, one person to a cart. But our clubhouse is closed.”
ClubMulwala’s CEO Alan Rowe expressed his dismay at the latest lockdown.
“We hope it doesn’t go on too long,” he said. “My main concern at the moment is for our 120 staff. I understand and get it about the lockdown but it’s frustrating. I care for our staff’s well-being. They’re being tested and tortured.
“We only have four or five staff on essential duties including upkeep of our bowling greens. Our club is closed.”
Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said the club’s staff have been temporarily stood down.
“We have our maintenance staff on just a few hours, but the rest of the staff will not be working during this lockdown.
“We had a meeting with staff this morning (Tuesday) and assured them they will all still have employment after this.
“We value our staff and we wanted to make sure they were accessing the government assistance and to also check on their welfare. They remain very positive and resilient considering the circumstances.”
Mr Duncan believes the lockdown could be extended to 14 days and the longer it goes the more it will hurt the bottom line of businesses.
“The last time we were in lockdown in NSW there was Jobkeeper support for businesses and they had that security blanket not only when they were forced to close but when they also re-opened. This assistance was important to their quick recovery but it’s not here this time.”
New owners of Capricorn Motor Inn Kerrie and Steve said they have only taken over the business in the last six weeks and have hardly had any customers in that time due to state or border lockdowns.
“This is hurting our business bigtime, we rely on Victorian customers, and we are being treating like we are a part of Sydney, in which we are not,” Kerrie said.
“We only just brought this business on July 2 and we are unable to get any grants from the government to help us as we did not own this business on June 1.
“How do you pay rent when you’re not getting any customers in, so far all I have done is take over $40,000 in cancellations?
“Where is the support for new business owners?
“What’s the point of a border bubble when we are not allowed to take any border bubble residents? Summer is coming and if this continues, we will end up losing everything we have, and we haven’t had a chance to give this business ago.
“If we end up losing our land and our business, its due to the government decisions not by poor management.”
Federation Council Mayor, Cr Patrick Bourke has expressed his confidence in the local community and applauded Federation Council residents for their resilience displayed and the way in which they adapt during challenging times, following the NSW state-wide lockdown announcement on Saturday.
Mayor Bourke said the last 20 months have undoubtedly been hard for not only the Federation community, but communities’ right across Australia and believes the situation in NSW right now is of great concern.
“Border communities have done it extremely tough, with restrictions and decisions made on both sides of the river affecting the way in which our communities function immensely,” he said.
“Through strong advocacy efforts we will continue to bring issues to the forefront, and assure the community that we will keep pushing all levels of government for common sense approach decisions, especially when it comes to public health and economic decisions.”
Meanwhile in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews introduced a night curfew on Melbourne as well as the closure of playgrounds. The Melbourne metropolitan lockdown has also been extended by a further two weeks, until 11.59pm Thursday, September 2.