Gippsland hospitality businesses will be condemned to another two months of tightly restricted activity that won’t be enough for many to survive, under the easing of restrictions announced by the Premier this week.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said Gippslanders were relieved they could finally move about with some freedom as regional Victoria moves to step three on the “roadmap” to easing of Covid restrictions.
However, he said the clamps were unfairly still on business, especially pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, with rules that are at odds with the health advice given just a few months ago.
“I’ve been calling for rules that would allow locals to be able to support local businesses. The decision to allow venues to serve up to 20 people indoors if they have two separate areas, as well as up to 50 outdoors, is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough.
“Many of our venues have been virtually restricted to take away only since March and they are on their knees. The limits proposed are at odds with the easing of restrictions in June when pubs, restaurants and cafes could accommodate up to 20 people per space. Given the prevalence of coronavirus in the community is about the same now as it was then, that change in risk level has not been explained by the government.”
“Under the Premier’s roadmap, there will be no further change for Gippslanders before November 23, and only if we can go 14 days statewide without any Covid cases. That’s too far away for our community and given the decreasing numbers of active cases, needs to be reviewed.
“The restrictions are having a massive effect, not only on our local economy, but on school children, mental health and other health outcomes and should not be in place any day longer than strictly necessary.
Mr O’Brien encouraged locals to support their local businesses that are doing it tough.
“We have seen our local businesses adapt during each stage of the restrictions imposed upon us and I have no doubt we will see the same resilience now.
“Adapting to outdoor dining will require roadside permits, but I have been assured that our local Shires will actively work with our hospitality businesses to make this process as painless as possible.”