Recovery Roadmap reaction

September 25, 2021 BY

Ocean Grove Business Association's president says the 10-seats indoor rule, in place until potentially late October, is unviable for large venues like The Surf Club. Photo: THE SURF CLUB

AS THE initial shock of another “short, sharp” lockdown at the start of school holidays was fading, the reality of Victoria’s Roadmap was sinking in for Greater Geelong and Surf Coast businesses.

Ocean Grove Business Association present Ty Symons said the positives of the long-awaited Roadmap, after a very long and difficult winter, was the hope of that by Christmas hospitality and other businesses would be open and could look forward to a busy summer.

Ty hopes there’s more financial support for businesses to recreate outdoor dining, retain staff and to recover, and that vaccination checks are rolled into the QR code system to take the pressure off hospitality staff and owners.

“Then you’d only have to ask people to check in once; it would make it easier and not so awkward,” Ty said.

He said the state government’s Roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions was “obviously a lot slower than we’d like but if we go too fast, we will be two steps forward and four steps back and we don’t want that”.

Ty, who operates Driftwood Cafe and the OG Surf Club said the 10-seat inside rule, rather than the square-metre rule, was tough for a lot of businesses and it wasn’t viable to open.

“At the Surf Club where you can seat 200 inside, and other big venues, you can’t open with 10 seats, you can’t pay wages with that. Twenty people outside is okay if it’s sunny.

“And keeping operational and keeping staff, that’s the hard part; at least when we had JobKeeper it meant we could keep our staff, and we opened more.

“JobKeeper had its problems, and there’s disaster payments at the moment, but it would be good to have some kind of JobKeeper payment, something to help me pay my people.”

He said workers had left the industry and he knew of people leaving town because they couldn’t afford to rent in the area.

“Once we open up we will all need staff, and a lot have left hospitality. I had two chefs lined up a few weeks ago but they are going back to Western Australia because they couldn’t find accommodation.

“It’s all going to make for an interesting summer; Ocean Grove always looks forward to summer, last year was great and I’m hoping this one is better.”

Ty said after all the uncertainty and spending money on stock to open, and going back into lockdown, the Roadmap provided “some comfort”.

He said the constantly changing restrictions had been very confusing throughout the whole pandemic, with businesses provided no direct information about what rules applied to them.

And the Roadmap was complicated, after what had been a difficult and exhausting 18 months for everyone.

But Ty hoped the Roadmap would be a “push for everyone to get the jab and get us out earlier” so businesses and the community could look forward to Christmas.

THE ROADMAP

The Victorian Roadmap: Delivering the National Plan, presumes that Regional Victoria, including Greater Geelong and Surf Coast, are out of lockdown when 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have received their first COVID-19 vaccination dose.

The 80-per-cent-first-jab mark is expected around September 26, and restrictions will start easing, however don’t plan to be able to invite a visitor to your home until about early November.

Final-year VCAL students can return to on-site learning and people attending hair and beauty services can remove their masks throughout the appointment.

Current rules for regional Victoria will continue to apply, including no travel restrictions; retail open; 10 people seated inside, 20 outside at pubs, cafes, restaurants; cinemas, pools and other facilities open with limits; Prep, Year 1 and Year 12 students attending on-site learning; and no visitors to homes.

The next trigger for restrictions to ease is when 70 per cent of people have received a double dose, expected around October 26, and community sport can return indoors with minimum numbers and all students can return to on-site learning at least part-time.

Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 30 fully-vaccinated people, indoors, funerals and weddings can have 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 fully vaccinated people outdoors.

When 80 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have received a double dose of COVID vaccine, forecast to occur about November 5, regional and Melbourne will have the same rules.

Up to 10 people will be permitted to visit a home, up to 150 fully vaccinated people can dine indoors, up to 30 can gather in public outdoors and masks are only required indoors.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only with up to 150 double-dosed people inside and 500 outside.

Weddings, funerals and religious services can have up to 150 double-dosed people indoors and 500 outdoors.

When 80 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have received two doses of vaccine, expected around November 19, Victoria’s restrictions align with the National Plan agreed to by National Cabinet.

The Roadmap plans for 30 visitors to be allowed to a home by December 25.

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