Businesses welcome back Melburnians

November 5, 2020 BY

The Pier Geelong's Rony Pelingon, Sridhar Sigatapu, Gillian Costa, Ruby Holroyd, Emily Portinari, and Wah Wah Gee. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

LOCAL accommodation providers and hospitality venues are anticipating a surge in business when the “ring of steel” around metropolitan Melbourne is removed on Monday, November 9.

Surf Coast Holiday Rentals owner David Muir said he had already received many bookings and was anticipating plenty more.

“As soon as it came out of (Premier Daniel) Andrews’ mouth that the hard Melbourne lockdown was finishing, the phone started ringing.

“We’re expecting from (Friday) November 13 that we will be operating at what we would normally expect during peak season. We’re expecting that to carry on until about Anzac Day, so we have a very busy six months ahead of us.”

Mr Muir said people’s reaction to restrictions easing earlier in the year also provided further reason for optimism.

“We got a test of what things would be like coming out of ‘Lockdown 1.0’ in June. Our June represented a normal November or a normal February in turnover, or 450 per cent up from the previous June.”

General manager of Cumberland Lorne Resort Richard Blackley said the “ring of steel” being removed would be transformative for the business.

“We’ve received at least a couple of hundred reservations in the last couple of days, so things are picking up well.”

Mr Cumberland said easing restrictions in regional Victoria had also meant the resort could expand its offerings.

“It’s also about the regional restrictions being eased to so that our current guests can enjoy more of our facilities, which is good.”

For hospitality venues, the restrictions in regional Victoria will have to ease further before they can capitalise on the influx of Melbourne tourists.

The Pier Geelong general manager Gillian Costa said many venues would otherwise still be operating at a fraction of their normal capacity.

“Until we get to the next level of restrictions in regional Victoria, we can’t fit any more people in.

“We can currently only fit 10 people in a room in which we could normally fit 120. But if restrictions ease, it will be a very positive outcome.”

Bellarine Bayside holiday parks manager Rod Newnham said the Premier’s announcement had greatly improved their prospects.

“Our bookings are currently slightly stronger than they were for these months last year.”

Mr Newnham noted people outside metropolitan Melbourne were increasingly eager to plan their next holiday as well.

“We have also experienced a higher number of regional Victorians making bookings.”