World News – UA – From ‘pure happiness’ to ‘no relief’: cut off from Melbourne, country Victoria is forging its own path


The coastal holiday towns of Victoria are usually teeming with Melburnians on long spring weekends, and Emma Malone was eager to welcome the townspeople to Queenscliff again

Ms Malone is the manager of the Big4 Beacon Resort in the peninsula town of Bellarine, where accommodation was heavily booked ahead of the next AFL big weekend

But yesterday’s announcement – which fortified the « steel ring » around the city – immediately wiped out almost all of those reservations

« We are so disappointed, » said Ms Malone « We are basically missing two more peak long weekends, with the Grand Final ahead and the Melbourne Cup »

Many Melburnians had made travel plans based on the state’s original roadmap with no restrictions, she said

« I just finished and canceled all of our reservations for the big last weekend We left the Melbourne Cup there hoping something might change but a lot of them started to ring to cancel »

Due to the lack of certainty, it is also difficult to know what to make Christmas reservations

« It’s full at the moment, but, again, it will be mostly Melbourne people, » she said « So if we miss that one, that’s when- there we’ll start to really think we’ll be in dire straits Not just us, the whole community « 

With very little interstate travel and no one coming from overseas, tourism businesses in Victoria are feeling a similar pain

Operators are prepared to follow secure COVID procedures and operate below capacity, but there was « really no relief » for them in the state’s new roadmap, Felicia Mariani said , Managing Director of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council

The organization wants to know when the intra-state travel bans will be lifted, so that outdoor summer events can be planned

« Working with many of our colleagues in the industry, we are asking for a date, and we are waiting for October 30 as that date, for the lifting of travel restrictions »

At Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland, dance studio owner Bobbie Hall said the news that she might be opening classes for students under 18 was a relief

« It was pure bliss to watch the announcements, » said Ms Hall « I did some push-ups when he gave us the date when we could open our classes to our undergraduates. 18 years old « 

An online petition for the reopening of dance studios, launched by Ms Hall, had collected more than 17,000 signatures

« The stability of the mental health of our students is one of the main reasons we strive to gain recognition for our industry, » she said

Further west, Brian Ford, owner of Traralgon Swimming Center, was also delighted to be able to welcome young swimmers again

From today, indoor swimming pools in the Victoria area can reopen to people under the age of 18, with a maximum of 20 swimmers

« Eighteen and under is a good age to choose as it is the vast majority of our learning to swim activity, » he said

« This is the most vulnerable age as summer approaches and the dangers around the water »

While M Ford was among attempts to pressure the government to reopen indoor pools, he said the announcement came out of nowhere

« I am part of the Victorian Aquatic Industry Alliance and we have made a lot of progress with the government, but there is no indication that the pools were going to reopen, so for the regions to open, it is a bit of a surprise , « he said

In Sale, also in Gippsland, pub owner Chad De Lany said the increase in hospitality business capacity was welcome

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can now accommodate up to 70 customers outdoors and 40 customers indoors

M De Lany said business has been strong at his pub, the Criterion Hotel, since the mostly open-air restaurants reopened

« We hit our limited capacity this weekend, which was fantastic, and we have sometimes sent people back to have the demand there, » he said.

He said the outdoor capacity of his pub was weather dependent and the ceiling did not work for large pubs like his which were installed for a much larger number of customers

« The last time we were open there was one person per 4 square meters inside so that gave you a different capacity, » he said.

« It also meant that each place would be different with the number of people they could accommodate So now, no matter how many rooms you have, it’s just the 40 [people] inside »

He said he would like to see regional businesses in Victoria follow what has been done in New South Wales

Indoor pools, dance studios and pubs have been some of the beneficiaries of the Victoria government’s decision to significantly change its plan for the Victoria region

According to the state’s original roadmaps, excluding restrictions, the Victoria region was to stay at its previous restriction level and wait for Melbourne to catch up

Once Melbourne reached the third stop, which was slated for October 26 if numbers were low enough, intra-state travel was to be allowed

It was then expected that the whole state would move on to the last stage of restrictions, once there had been a fortnight without any cases

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews postponed Melbourne’s date to ease restrictions to October 19, but the city has not been quite able to meet case count targets, with a daily average of 7 per fortnight5 cases and 15 mystery cases

Yesterday, M Andrews announced his new roadmap will see the regional regions of Victoria and Melbourne continue on different paths, due to much lower levels of the virus in the Victoria region

The narrower border between the capital and its regions is designed to allow more restrictions to dissipate outside Melbourne

« There will be more checkpoints and more cars stopped and we are able to take these steps in the Victoria area like 40 people inside a pub because it is a community less virulent than Melbourne, « he said

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World news – UA – From «  pure happiness  » to «  no relief  »: cut off from Melbourne, the country Victoria is forging its own path


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