Allied effort: Joint letter pleads for easing of coronavirus restrictions in regional Victoria

October 15, 2020 BY

The alliance says the AFL grand final - which will be played at the Gabba, seen here - will lead to an inevitable spike in illegal gatherings if hospitality venue caps are not lifted.

THE Geelong Chamber of Commerce has joined an alliance of similar organisations from regional Victoria “pleading” for the state government to ease coronavirus restrictions on Monday next week.
The Victorian Regional Chambers Alliance comprises 12 chambers and business associations from across the state.
Their representatives, including Geelong Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Ben Flynn, have all signed the letter to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
The letter, released earlier this week, states regional Victoria appreciated the harsh restrictions needed to achieve the low levels of coronavirus here – which include a 14-day rolling average of 0.4 cases and no cases with an unknown source for two weeks.
The alliance also appreciates the reasons for waiting for metropolitan Melbourne (in the Second Step of the coronavirus roadmap) to “catch up” to regional Victoria (in the Third Step), but the regional economy “continues to needlessly suffer”.
“The hospitality sector, as well as being a major employer of our young people, is such a critical part of the recovery of our devastated tourism industry and it is simply not viable for them to continue under their current restrictions. They are haemorrhaging money trying to stay afloat and keep their staff employed.”
The alliance believes there is “enormous concern” about coming events such as the AFL grand final and the Melbourne Cup.
“If people are unable to book into a venue due to small patron caps, it is inevitable there will be an increase in illegal private gatherings.”
The letter also states “industries who have been left behind” such as gyms and indoor group fitness could have been included in the first reopening.
“Finally, on many occasions, it can be days or weeks for detailed information to be available online after it is announced publicly.
“The industries throughout regional Victoria are now well equipped and ready to be open.”
Mr Flynn said the alliance formed about six months ago and had regular contact with the state government but this week’s letter was their first formal communication to the government.
“Regional chambers were experiencing the same difficulties as their businesses, and we created a fortnightly catchup, and from that we felt the regions needed a voice direct to government.
“Given no cases in the G21 region, it is safe to extend dining, for instance, to extend tourism if we can, the arts, and things in a social capacity as well.
“Businesses in regional Victoria are significantly impacted, and many of them are going to the wall, and they need to be able to get back to operating profitably – but also beyond that, being able to plan, moving forward, to operate with some normality.”

Share This