Bring back ‘daily living’ consistency
The Victorian Government’s announcement last Thursday restricting hotels to allowing only 10 people inside and 20 outside and to not bring back ‘daily living’ regulations across the border communities has been slammed by local hospitality venue operators.
“It’s just crazy – ludicrous. It just shows the state government not only has no respect for the hospitality industry but has no understanding,” owner of closed Burkes Hotel Andrew Curran, said.
“New South Wales has more case numbers than us, yet we’re restricted to operating with only ten people allowed inside – we’re licensed up to 510.
“You see people lining up elsewhere in big numbers yet we’re closed.”
The clear message from business owners and leaders in Yarrawonga and Mulwala is for a return to daily living without such harsh restrictions, at least for the border bubble to be in place for cross-town residents.
The message follows last Thursday’s announcements by the Victorian and NSW Premiers about some easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
In NSW, restrictions allow one person every four-square metres inside reopened venues and two square metres outside.
In Victoria, only 10 people are allowed inside and just 20 in outdoor areas in regional Victoria.
“It’s good we’re open but frustrating the border bubble’s not open. Eighty per cent of our revenue comes from over the river in Yarrawonga,” Mulwala Water Ski Club CEO Peter Duncan said.
Call for common sense
ClubMulwala CEO Alan Rowe wants to see common sense apply. “The border bubble is number one priority and the restrictions should be eased, especially to allow our Yarrawonga residents over to us and our practices which of course includes QR codes,” he said.
“We are eighty per cent open but looking to certainly about getting our 130 staff back to work. We at least want the border open with the border bubble. Hopefully common sense will apply.”
Mr Rowe and Mr Duncan both said that all club staff have been strongly encouraged to have the necessary vaccinations which has also been pushed by both states’ premiers.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort has decided to close due to the expected reduced trade from border restrictions and Yarrawonga-based golfers are not allowed to play golf on the course they’ve travelled so little to reach for so long.
Call by McCurdy
Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy has called for greater patron numbers to be allowed in hospitality venues to ensure financially viability for local businesses.
Mr McCurdy raised the issue in Parliament last week and said the patron cap limits announced for regional hospitality venues were unviable.
“I have been inundated by local pubs, restaurants and wineries who say they simply cannot afford to open up under these rules,” Mr McCurdy said.
“The patron cap is not viable when considering the costs of operating with such low customer numbers. It just doesn’t add up for local businesses.”
Mr McCurdy said regional Victorian hospitality venues could not afford to run at another loss.
“The government has again over-promised and under-delivered for Ovens Valley business,” he said.
“Rapid testing is the obvious answer to opening up Victoria, but Premier Andrews is still reluctant to use this simple but effective tool in this circumstance.”
Some relief at park
Following last week’s announcement to open up regional Victoria, the telephone rang hot at Yarrawonga Holiday Park and up to 40 lots of holidaymakers subsequently checked in. “It was a good feel, with people throughout regional Victoria including Echuca and Geelong,” Park Manager Sean Driscoll said.
“There are a lot of new faces. They’ve been very complimentary of our park. They just wanted to get out and back to some form of normality.
“It was great to see kids at our park having fun – our park’s so suitable for that – and to see parents enjoying themselves. We haven’t seen it for so long you wondered if it was going to happen again.”