Yarrawonga Chronicle

Will lockdowns be eased this week?

- BY EMMA PRIOR AND ROBERT MUIR

That’s the burning question on locals’ minds at the moment as residents wait for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklia­n to make announceme­nts in coming days.

With the regional NSW lockdown scheduled to end this Friday, September 10 border

NSW residents were waiting on Tuesday for some hopeful news.

In Victoria Premier Andrews said last Wednesday that low case numbers would allow the regions, except Shepparton, which is battling an outbreak, to leave lockdown.

However, in saying that he warned that “significan­t” restrictio­ns would remain in place but no detail was provided before the Yarrawonga Chronicle went to print.

“It is fair to say the rest of regional Victoria will be able to move before Shepparton, but we will have Shepparton following along as close behind as we possibly can,” Mr Andrews said.

“I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet.”

Local businesses particular­ly those in hospitalit­y are desperatel­y awaiting the announceme­nts to reopen to stay afloat with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, especially the latest one, emphasised by Yarrawonga Holiday Park Manager Shaun Driscoll and Mulwala’s Capricorn Motor Inn Owner Kerrie.

“This is just insane. For the first time we’re going backwards,” Mr Driscoll told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

“We’ve been through storms and floods. Nothing’s closed us in the past. But the

$10,000 we received from the government doesn’t even pay the power bills.

“We only have three couples here who chose to stay before the lockdown.”

Regional Victoria entered their sixth lockdown on August 21 a week after regional NSW with an announceme­nt in coming days expected on the future of the lockdown.

Mr Driscoll appreciate­s the close working relationsh­ip with the Yarrawonga Holiday Park Committee, especially president Glenn Brear “who calls in every day to see how we are”.

“I congratula­te the committee for all their work and the great relationsh­ip we have,” he said.

Mr Brear said it was unfortunat­e that managers Michelle and Shaun have “copped two shocking years”.

“People don’t understand how much Shaun has given to people in the vicinity. He’s done a lot of work in the park itself too. He and Michelle run a good ship. As managers, they are outstandin­g.”

On the other side of the river, Capricorn Motor Inn owner Kerrie said her and partner Steve only purchased the motel at the beginning of July this year.

“Because we only just bought the business we’re not sure what our average occupancy should be for this time of year, we’re just hoping now it can be almost normal come summer,” Kerrie said.

“We haven’t even had a real go of the business yet and we invested everything into it.

“I also hate being behind on bills and the likes but being that we’ve been in lockdown for most of our ownership so far that has had to happen.

“We and many other businesses just need a steady income and some cash flow.

“Nothing is coming in and we are definitely not the only ones. It is even harder being on the border as our community suffers either way.

“We all need to reopen as we can’t survive on nothing.”

Mulwala businesses and residents who have suffered time and time again from lockdowns described the current situation as “disappoint­ing” with hundreds of locals stood down from their jobs.

ClubMulwal­a’s CEO Alan Rowe hoped the lockdown doesn’t go on for too long.

“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,” he said.

Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort’s CEO Peter Savy said the latest lockdown is something they 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.

Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said most of the club’s staff have been temporaril­y stood down and are accessing government assistance.

“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.”

Last Friday Benalla and Shepparton joined Edward River, Bendigo, Buloke, Loddon, Yarriambia­ck and Broken Hill as local government areas to be taken out of the border bubble as Victorian health authoritie­s tightened travel restrictio­ns.

In Shepparton cases were on a downward trend with the town still recording a handful recorded each day but the number of active cases dropping with those infected shedding the illness.

“We’re making good progress in terms of people being cleared,” GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said over the weekend.

“Of course, we had a really big spike in the release of the primary close contacts that were largely associated with the school exposure sites.

“That followed the day 13 testing on Thursday, and into Friday and Saturday around 4,500 were released from quarantine so that’s terrific.”

Mr Sharp said while the COVID-19 curve was heading in the right direction, the region remained in Stage 4 lockdown for a reason.

“The risks are still there, I mean COVID is present in the community and right across the country,” he said.

“Ultimately it relies on everybody doing the right things in maintainin­g their distance, keeping masks on, hygiene, sanitising hands all of those sorts of things,” he said.

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 ??  ?? Greater Shepparton have been working hard to complete a phenomenal 4,000 tests in a day. Photo: Megan Fisher.
Greater Shepparton have been working hard to complete a phenomenal 4,000 tests in a day. Photo: Megan Fisher.

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